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ChmsTian Classics ErheneaL Liknany 


Nicene and 
Post-Nicene Fathers 
Series I, Volume 4 


Philip Schaff 


ChmsTian Classics 

r > >gjj 

Erbeneal Libnany 


NPNF1-04. Augustine: The Writings Against the 
Manichaeans and Against the Donatists 


i 


Author(s): 

Publisher: 

Description: 


Subjects: 


Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) (Editor) 

Grand Rapids, Ml: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

With over twenty volumes, the Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers is a momentous achievement. Originally gathered 
by Philip Schaff, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a 
collection of writings by classical and medieval Christian 
theologians.The purpose of such a collection is to make their 
writings readily available. The entire work is divided into two 
series. The first series focuses on two classical Christian 
theologians-St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom. St. 
Augustine is one of the most influential and important Chris- 
tian thinkers of all time. In addition to reprinting his most 
popular two works-the Confessions and the City of 
God- these volumes also contain other noteworthy and im- 
portant works of St. Augustine, such as On the Holy Trinity, 
Christian Doctrine, and others. St. John Chrysostom was an 
eloquent speaker and well-loved Christian clergyman. St. 
John took a more literal interpretation of Scripture, and much 
of his work focused on practical aspects of Christianity, par- 
ticularly what is now called social justice. He advocated for 
the poor, and challenged abuses of authority. This particular 
volume contains Augustine's writings against the Donatists 
and Manichaeism-a form of Gnosticism. The Nicene and 
Post-Nicene Fathers is comprehensive in scope, and provide 
keen translations of instructive and illuminating texts from 
some of the greatest theologians of the Christian church. 
These spiritually enlightening texts have aided Christians for 
over a thousand years, and remain instructive and fruitful 
even today! 

Tim Perrine 
CCEL Staff Writer 

Christianity 

Early Christian Literature. Fathers of the Church, etc. 


Contents 



1 


Title Page 

Editor’s Preface. 2 

Contents 3 

Writings in Connection with the Manichaean Controversy. 5 

Title Page. 5 

Introductory Essay on the Manichaean Heresy. 6 

Literature. 7 

Sources. 8 

Modern Works. 10 

Philosophical Basis, and Antecedents of Manichaeism. 12 

The Manichaean System. 15 

Relation of Manichaeism to Zoroastrianism. 27 

The Relation of Manichaeism to the Old Babylonian Religion as Seen in 30 

Mandaeism and Sabeanism. 

The Relation of Manichaeism to Buddhism. 32 

The Relation of Manichaeism to Judaism. 34 

The Relation of Manichaeism to Christianity. 35 

Augustin and the Manichaeans. 39 

Outline of Manichaean History. 45 

Preface to the Anti-Manichaean Writings. 46 

On the Morals of the Catholic Church. 54 

Title Page. 54 

Argument. 55 

How the Pretensions of the Manichaeans are to Be Refuted. Two Manichaean 56 

Falsehoods. 

He Begins with Arguments, in Compliance with the Mistaken Method of the 58 

Manichaeans. 

Happiness is in the Enjoyment of Man’s Chief Good. Two Conditions of the 59 
Chief Good: 1st, Nothing is Better Than It; 2d, It Cannot Be Lost Against the 
Will. 

Man — What? 60 

Man’s Chief Good is N ot the Chief Good of the Body Only, But the Chief Good 6 1 
of the Soul. 

iii 



Virtue Gives Perfection to the Soul; The Soul Obtains Virtue by Following God; 62 
Following God is the Happy Life. 

The Knowledge of God to Be Obtained from the Scripture. The Plan and 63 

Principal Mysteries of the Divine Scheme of Redemption. 

God is the Chief Good, Whom We are to Seek After with Supreme Affection. 64 

Harmony of the Old and New Testament on the Precepts of Charity. 65 

What the Church Teaches About God. The Two Gods of the Manichaeans. 67 

God is the One Object of Love; Therefore He is Man’s Chief Good. Nothing is 69 
Better Than God. God Cannot Be Lost Against Our Will. 

We are United to God by Love, in Subjection to Him. 71 

We are Joined Inseparably to God by Christ and His Spirit. 72 

We Cleave to the Trinity, Our Chief Good, by Love. 73 

The Christian Definition of the Four Virtues. 74 

Harmony of the Old and New Testaments. 75 

Appeal to the Manichaeans, Calling on Them to Repent. 78 

Only in the Catholic Church is Perfect Truth Established on the Harmony of 80 
Both Testaments. 

Description of the Duties of Temperance, According to the Sacred Scriptures. 82 

We are Required to Despise All Sensible Things, and to Love God Alone. 84 

Popular Renown and Inquisitiveness are Condemned in the Sacred Scriptures. 85 

Fortitude Comes from the Love of God. 87 

Scripture Precepts and Examples of Fortitude. 88 

Of Justice and Prudence. 90 

Four Moral Duties Regarding the Love of God, of Which Love the Reward is 91 
Eternal Life and the Knowledge of the Truth. 

Love of Ourselves and of Our Neighbor. 92 

On Doing Good to the Body of Our Neighbor. 94 

On Doing Good to the Soul of Our Neighbor. Two Parts of Discipline, Restraint 95 
and Instruction. Through Good Conduct We Arrive at the Knowledge of the 
Truth. 

Of the Authority of the Scriptures. 97 

The Church Apostrophised as Teacher of All Wisdom. Doctrine of the Catholic 99 

Church. 

iv 



The Life of the Anachoretes and Coenobites Set Against the Continence of the 102 

Manichaeans. 

Praise of the Clergy. 104 

Another Kind of Men Living Together in Cities. Fasts of Three Days. 105 

The Church is Not to Be Blamed for the Conduct of Bad Christians, Worshippers 108 

of Tombs and Pictures. 

Marriage and Property Allowed to the Baptized by the Apostles. 110 

On the Morals of the Manichaeans. 1 13 

Title Page. 113 

Argument. 1 14 

The Supreme Good is that Which is Possessed of Supreme Existence. 115 

What Evil is. That Evil is that Which is Against Nature. In Allowing This, the 116 
Manichaeans Refute Themselves. 

If Evil is Defined as that Which is Hurtful, This Implies Another Refutation of 118 
the Manichaeans. 

The Difference Between What is Good in Itself and What is Good by 119 

Participation. 

If Evil is Defined to Be Corruption, This Completely Refutes the Manichaean 120 
Heresy. 

What Corruption Affects and What It is. 121 

The Goodness of God Prevents Corruption from Bringing Anything to 122 

Non-Existence. The Difference Between Creating and Forming. 

Evil is Not a Substance, But a Disagreement Hostile to Substance. 123 

The Manichaean Fictions About Things Good and Evil are Not Consistent with 125 

Themselves. 

Three Moral Symbols Devised by the Manichaeans for No Good. 128 

The Value ofthe Symbol ofthe Mouth Among the Manichaeans, Who are Found 129 
Guilty of Blaspheming God. 

Manichaean Subterfuge. 131 

Actions to Be Judged of from Their Motive, Not from Externals. Manichaean 132 
Abstinence to Be Tried by This Principle. 

Three Good Reasons for Abstaining from Certain Kinds of Food. 134 

Why the Manichaeans Prohibit the Use of Flesh. 138 

Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichaeans. 139 


v 



Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichaeans. 146 

Of the Symbol of the Breast, and of the Shameful Mysteries of the Manichaeans. 151 

Crimes of the Manichaeans. 153 

Disgraceful Conduct Discovered at Rome. 156 

On Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans. 158 

Title Page. 158 

By What Course of Reasoning the Error of the Manichaeans Concerning Two 159 


Souls, One of Which is Not from God, is Refuted. Every Soul, Inasmuch as It 
is a Certain Life, Can Have Its Existence Only from God the Source of Life. 

If the Light that is Perceived by Sense Has God for Its Author, as the Manichaeans 161 


Acknowledge, Much More The Soul Which is Perceived by Intellect Alone. 

How It is Proved that Every Body Also is from God. That the Soul Which is 163 
Called Evil by the Manichaeans is Better Than Light. 

Even the Soul of a Fly is More Excellent Than the Light. 165 

How Vicious Souls, However Worthy of Condemnation They May Be, Excel 166 
the Light Which is Praiseworthy in Its Kind. 

Whether Even Vices Themselves as Objects of Intellectual Apprehension are 167 


to Be Preferred to Light as an Object of Sense Perception, and are to Be Attributed 
to God as Their Author. Vice of the Mind and Certain Defects are Not Rightly 
to Be Counted Among Intelligible Things. Defects Themselves Even If They 
Should Be Counted Among Intelligible Things Should Never Be Put Before 
Sensible Things. If Light is Visible by God, Much More is the Soul, Even If 
Vicious, Which in So Far as It Lives is an Intelligible Thing. Passages of Scripture 
are Adduced by the Manichaeans to the Contrary. 

How Evil Men are of God, and Not of God. 170 

The Manichaeans Inquire Whence is Evil and by This Question Think They 172 
Have Triumphed. Let Them First Know, Which is Most Easy to Do, that Nothing 
Can Live Without God. Consummate Evil Cannot Be Known Except by the 
Knowledge of Consummate Good, Which is God. 

Augustin Deceived by F amiliarity with the Manichaeans, and by the Succession 174 

of Victories Over Ignorant Christians Reported by Them. The Manichaeans 
are Likewise Easily Refuted from the Knowledge of Sin and the Will. 

Sin is Only from the Will. His Own Life and Will Best Known to Each 175 

Individual. What Will is. 

What Sin is. 179 


vi 



From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, He Overthrows the Entire Heresy 180 

of the Manichaeans. Likewise from the Just Condemnation of Evil Souls It 
Follows that They are Evil Not by Nature But by Will. That Souls are Good By 
Nature, to Which the Pardon of Sins is Granted. 

From Deliberation on the Evil and on the Good Part It Results that Two Classes 183 

of Souls are Not to Be Held to. A Class of Souls Enticing to Shameful Deeds 
Having Been Conceded, It Does Not Follow that These are Evil by Nature, that 
the Others are Supreme Good. 

Again It is Shown from the Utility of Repenting that Souls are Not by Nature 186 
Evil. So Sure a Demonstration is Not Contradicted Except from the Habit of 
Erring. 

He Prays for His Friends Whom He Has Had as Associates in Error. 188 

Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean. 189 

Title Page. 189 

Disputation of the First Day. 190 

Disputation of the Second Day. 200 

Against the Epistle of Manichaeus, Called Fundamental. 209 

Title Page. 209 

To Heal Heretics is Better Than to Destroy Them. 210 

Why the Manichaeans Should Be More Gently Dealt with. 212 

Augustin Once a Manichaean. 213 

Proofs of the Catholic Faith. 214 

Against the Title of the Epistle of Manichaeus. 215 

Why Manichaeus Called Himself an Apostle of Christ. 217 

In What Sense the Followers of Manichaeus Believe Him to Be the Holy Spirit. 218 

The Festival of the Birth-Day of Manichaeus. 219 

When the Holy Spirit Was Sent. 220 

The Holy Spirit Twice Given. 222 

Manichaeus Promises Truth, But Does Not Make Good His Word. 223 

The Wild Fancies of Manichaeus. The Battle Before the Constitution of the 224 

World. 

Two Opposite Substances. The Kingdom of Light. Manichaeus Teaches 225 

Uncertainties Instead of Certainties. 


vii 



Manichaeus Promises the Knowledge of Undoubted Things, and Then Demands 226 
Faith in Doubtful Things. 

The Doctrine of Manichaeus Not Only Uncertain, But False. His Absurd Fancy 228 
of a Land and Race of Darkness Bordering on the Holy Region and the Substance 
of God. The Error, First of All, of Giving to the Nature of God Limits and 
Borders, as If God Were a Material Substance, Having Extension in Space. 

The Soul, Though Mutable, Has No Material Form. It is All Present in Every 229 
Part of the Body. 

The Memory Contains the Ideas of Places of the Greatest Size. 230 

The Understanding Judges of the Truth of Things, and of Its Own Action. 231 

If the Mind Has No Material Extension, Much Less Has God. 232 

Refutation of the Absurd Idea of Two Territories. 233 

This Region of Light Must Be Material If It is Joined to the Region of Darkness. 234 
The Shape of the Region of Darkness Joined to the Region of Light. 

The Form of the Region of Light the Worse of the Two. 235 

The Anthropomorphites Not So Bad as the Manichaeans. 236 

Of the Number of Natures in the Manichaean Fiction. 238 

Omnipotence Creates Good Things Differing in Degree. In Every Description 239 
Whatsoever of the Junction of the Two Regions There is Either Impropriety or 
Absurdity. 

The Manichaeans are Reduced to the Choice of a T ortuous, or Curved, or Straight 24 1 
Line of Junction. The Third Kind of Line Would Give Symmetry and Beauty 
Suitable to Both Regions. 

The Beauty of the Straight Line Might Be Taken from the Region of Darkness 242 
Without Taking Anything from Its Substance. So Evil Neither Takes from Nor 
Adds to the Substance of the Soul. The Straightness of Its Side Would Be So 
Far a Good Bestowed on the Region of Darkness by God the Creator. 

Manichaeus Places Five Natures in the Region of Darkness. 244 

The Refutation of This Absurdity. 245 

The Number of Good Things in Those Natures Which Manichaeus Places in 246 
the Region of Darkness. 

The Same Subject Continued. 248 

Manichaeus Got the Arrangement of His Fanciful Notions from Visible Objects. 249 
Every Nature, as Nature, is Good. 251 

viii 



Nature Cannot Be Without Some Good. The Manichaeans Dwell Upon the 252 
Evils. 

Evil Alone is Corruption. Corruption is Not Nature, But Contrary to Nature. 254 
Corruption Implies Previous Good. 

The Source of Evil or of Corruption of Good. 255 

God Alone Perfectly Good. 256 

Nature Made by God; Corruption Comes from Nothing. 258 

In What Sense Evils are from God. 259 

Corruption Tends to Non-Existence. 260 

Corruption is by God’s Permission, and Comes from Us. 261 

Exhortation to the Chief Good. 262 

Conclusion. 263 

Reply to Faustus the Manichaean. 264 

Title Page. 264 

Preface. 265 

Who Faustus was. Faustus’s object in writing the polemical treatise that forms 266 
the basis of Augustin’s reply. Augustin’s remarks thereon. 

Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical tables 268 

on various grounds which Augustin seeks to set aside. 

Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists are 273 
at variance with each other, and that incarnation is unsuitable to deity. Augustin 
attempts to remove the critical and theological difficulties. 

Faustus’s reasons for rej ecting the Old T estament, and Augustin’s animadversions 277 

thereon. 

Faustus claims that the Manichaeans and not the Catholics are consistent believers 279 

in the Gospel, and seeks to establish this claim by comparing Manichaean and 
Catholic obedience to the precepts of the Gospel. Augustin exposes the hypocrisy 
of the Manichaeans and praises the asceticism of Catholics. 

Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its precepts, 287 

and accuses Catholics of inconsistency in neglecting its ordinances, while 
claiming to accept it as authoritative. Augustin explains the Catholic view of 
the relation of the Old Testament to the New. 

The genealogical question is again taken up and argued on both sides. 298 


IX 



Faustus maintains that to hold to the Old Testament after the giving of the New 300 
is putting new cloth on an old garment. Augustin further explains the relation 
of the Old Testament to the New, and reproaches the Manichaeans with carnality. 

Faustus argues that if the apostles born under the old covenant could lawfully 302 
depart from it, much more can he having been born a Gentile. Augustin explains 
the relation of Jews and Gentiles alike to the Gospel. 

Faustus insists that the Old Testament promises are radically different from 304 
those of the New. Augustin admits a difference, but maintains that the moral 
precepts are the same in both. 

Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in the 306 
incarnation, to which he earlier held. Augustin shows that the apostle was 
consistent with himself in the utterances quoted. 

Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such 315 

prediction from the New Testament, and expounds at length the principal types 
of Christ in the Old Testament. 

Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain 343 

predictions, it would be of interest only to the Jews, pagan literature subserving 
the same purpose for Gentiles. Augustin shows the value of prophesy for Gentiles 
and Jews alike. 

Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. 357 
Augustin expounds the Christian doctrine of the suffering Saviour by comparing 
Old and New Testament passages. 

Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. Christ 365 
the one Bridegroom suffices for His Bride the Church. Augustin answers as 
well as he can, and reproves the Manichaeans with presumption in claiming to 
be the Bride of Christ. 

Faustus willing to believe not only that the Jewish but that all Gentile prophets 378 
wrote of Christ, if it should be proved; but he would none the less insist upon 
rejecting their superstitions. Augustin maintains that all Moses wrote is of 
Christ, and that his writings must be either accepted or rejected as a whole. 

Faustus rejects Christ’s declaration that He came not to destroy the law and the 403 
prophets but to fulfill them, on the ground that it is found only in Matthew, 
who was not present when the words purport to have been spoken. Augustin 
rebukes the folly of refusing to believe Matthew and yet believing Manichaeus, 
and shows what the passage of scripture really means. 

The relation of Christ to prophecy, continued. 408 

Faustus is willing to admit that Christ may have said that He came not to destroy 412 

the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them; but if He did, it was to pacify the 


x 



Jews and in a modified sense. Augustin replies, and still further elaborates the 
Catholic view of prophecy and its fulfillment. 

Faustus repels the charge of sun-worship, and maintains that while the 435 

Manichaeans believe that God’s power dwells in the sun and his wisdom in the 
moon, they yet worship one deity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are not 
a schism of the Gentiles, nor a sect. Augustin emphasizes the charge of 
polytheism, and goes into an elaborate comparison of Manichaean and pagan 
mythology. 

Faustus denies that Manichaeans believe in two gods. Hyle no god. Augustin 454 
discusses at large the doctrine of God and Hyle, and fixes the charge of dualism 
upon the Manichaeans. 

Faustus states his objections to the morality of the law and the prophets, and 468 
Augustin seeks by the application of the type and the allegory to explain away 
the moral difficulties of the Old Testament. 

Faustus recurs to the genealogical difficulty and insists that even according to 536 
Matthew Jesus was not Son of God until His baptism. Augustin sets forth the 
Catholic view of the relation of the divine and the human in the person of Christ. 

Faustus explains the Manichaean denial that man was made by God as applying 543 
to the fleshly man not to the spiritual. Augustin elucidates the Apostle Paul’s 
contrasts between flesh and spirit so as to exclude the Manichaean view. 

Faustus seeks to bring into ridicule the orthodox claim to believe in the infinity 548 
of God by caricaturing the anthropomorphic representations of the Old 
Testament. Augustin expresses his despair of being able to induce the 
Manichaeans to adopt right views of the infinitude of God so long as they 
continue to regard the soul and God as extended in space. 

Faustus insists that Jesus might have died though not born, by the exercise of 550 
divine power, yet he rejects birth and death alike. Augustin maintains that there 
are some things that even God cannot do, one of which is to die. He refutes the 
docetism of the Manichaeans. 

Faustus warns against pressing too far the argument, that if Jesus was not born 556 

He cannot have suffered. Augustin accepts the birth and death alike on the 
testimony of the Gospel narrative, which is higher authority than the falsehood 
of Manichaeus. 

Faustus recurs to the genealogy and insists upon examining it as regards its 557 
consistency with itself. Augustin takes his stand on Scripture authority and 
maintains that Matthew’s statements as to the birth of Christ must be accepted 
as final. 


xi 



Faustus seeks to justify the docetism of the Manichaeans. Augustin insists that 560 
there is nothing disgraceful in being born. 

Faustus repels the insinuation that the prophecy of Paul with reference to those 563 

that should forbid to marry, abstain from meats, etc., applies to the Manichaeans 
more than to the Catholic ascetics, who are held in the highest esteem in the 
Church. Augustin justifies this application of the prophecy, and shows the 
difference between Manichaean and Christian asceticism. 

The scripture passage: ‘To the pure all things are pure, but to the impure and 568 
defiled is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled,’ is 
discussed from both the Manichaean and the Catholic points of view, Faustus 
objecting to its application to his party and Augustin insisting on its application. 

Faustus fails to understand why he should be required either to accept or reject 571 

the New Testament as a whole, while the Catholics accept or reject the various 
parts of the Old T estament at pleasure. Augustin denies that the Catholics treat 
the Old Testament arbitrarily, and explains their attitude towards it. 

Faustus does not think it would be a great honor to sit down with Abraham, 585 
Isaac and Jacob, whose moral characters as set forth in the Old Testament he 
detests. He justifies his subjective criticism of Scripture. Augustin sums up the 
argument, claims the victory, and exhorts the Manichaeans to abandon their 
opposition to the Old Testament notwithstanding the difficulties that it presents, 


and to recognize the authority of the Catholic Church. 

Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans. 593 

Title Page. 593 

Preface. 594 

God the Highest and Unchangeable Good, from Whom are All Other Good 595 
Things, Spiritual and Corporeal. 

How This May Suffice for Correcting the Manichaeans. 596 

Measure, Form, and Order, Generic Goods in Things Made by God. 597 

Evil is Corruption of Measure, Form, or Order. 598 

The Corrupted Nature of a More Excellent Order Sometimes Better Than an 599 
Inferior Nature Even Uncorrupted. 


Nature Which Cannot Be Corrupted is the Highest Good; That Which Can, is 600 
Some Good. 

The Corruption of Rational Spirits is on the One Hand Voluntary, on the Other 601 
Penal. 

From the Corruption and Destruction of Inferior Things is the Beauty of the 602 

Universe. 

xii 



Punishment is Constituted for the Sinning Nature that It May Be Rightly 603 

Ordered. 

Natures Corruptible, Because Made of Nothing. 604 

God Cannot Suffer Harm, Nor Can Any Other Nature Except by His Permission. 605 

All Good Things are from God Alone. 606 

Individual Good Things, Whether Small or Great, are from God. 607 

Small Good Things in Comparison with Greater are Called by Contrary Names. 608 

In the Body of the Ape the Good of Beauty is Present, Though in a Less Degree. 609 

Privations in Things are Fittingly Ordered by God. 610 

Nature, in as Far as It is Nature, No Evil. 611 

Hyle, Which Was Called by the Ancients the Formless Material of Things, is 612 

Not an Evil. 

To Have True Existence is an Exclusive Prerogative of God. 613 

Pain Only in Good Natures. 614 

From Measure Things are Said to Be Moderate-Sized. 615 

Measure in Some Sense is Suitable to God Himself. 616 

Whence a Bad Measure, a Bad Form, a Bad Order May Sometimes Be Spoken 617 

of. 

It is Proved by the Testimonies of Scripture that God is Unchangeable. The 618 

Son of God Begotten, Not Made. 

This Last Expression Misunderstood by Some. 619 

That Creatures are Made of Nothing. 620 

’From Him’ And ‘Of Him’ Do Not Mean The Same Thing. 621 

Sin Not From God, But From The Will of Those Sinning. 622 

That God is Not Defiled by Our Sins. 623 

That Good Things, Even the Least, and Those that are Earthly, are by God. 624 

To Punish and to Forgive Sins Belong Equally to God. 625 

From God Also is the Very Power to Be Hurtful. 626 

That Evil Angels Have Been Made Evil, Not by God, But by Sinning. 627 

That Sin is Not the Striving for an Evil Nature, But the Desertion of a Better. 628 

The Tree Was Forbidden to Adam Not Because It Was Evil, But Because It Was 629 
Good for Man to Be Subject to God. 

No Creature of God is Evil, But to Abuse a Creature of God is Evil. 630 

xiii 



God Makes Good Use of the Evil Deeds of Sinners. 631 

Eternal Fire Torturing the Wicked, Not Evil. 632 

Fire is Called Eternal, Not as God Is, But Because Without End. 633 

Neither Can God Suffer Hurt, Nor Any Other, Save by the Just Ordination of 634 
God. 

How Great Good Things the Manichaeans Put in the Nature of Evil, and How 635 
Great Evil Things in the Nature of Good. 

Manichaean Blasphemies Concerning the Nature of God. 637 

Many Evils Before His Commingling with Evil are Attributed to the Nature of 639 
God by the Manichaeans. 

Incredible Turpitudes in God Imagined by Manichaeus. 640 

Certain Unspeakable Turpitudes Believed, Not Without Reason, Concerning 642 
the Manichaeans Themselves. 

The Unspeakable Doctrine of the Fundamental Epistle. 643 

He Compels to the Perpetration of Horrible Turpitudes. 644 

Augustin Prays that the Manichaeans May Be Restored to Their Senses. 645 

Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy. 646 

Title Page. 646 

Introductory Essay. 647 

Bibliography. 647 

An Analysis of Augustin’s Writings Against the Donatists. 652 

Preface. 694 

On Baptism, Against the Donatists. 698 

Title Page. 698 

Preface. 699 

He proves that baptism can be conferred outside the Catholic communion by 700 
heretics or schismatics, but that it ought not to be received from them; and that 
it is of no avail to any while in a state of heresy or schism. 

Chapter 1 701 

Chapter 2 704 

Chapter 3 705 

Chapter 4 707 

Chapter 5 709 


xiv 



Chapter 6 711 

Chapter 7 712 

Chapter 8 713 

Chapter 9 715 

Chapter 10 716 

Chapter 11 718 

Chapter 12 720 

Chapter 13 723 

Chapter 14 724 

Chapter 15 725 

Chapter 16 727 

Chapter 17 728 

Chapter 18 729 

Chapter 19 731 

In which Augustin proves that it is to no purpose that the Donatists bring 732 


forward the authority of Cyprian, bishop and martyr, since it is really more 
opposed to them than to the Catholics. For that he held that the view of his 
predecessor Agrippinus, on the subject of baptizing heretics in the Catholic 
Church when they join its communion, should only be received on condition 
that peace should be maintained with those who entertained the opposite view, 
and that the unity of the Church should never be broken by any kind of schism. 


Chapter 1 

733 

Chapter 2 

736 

Chapter 3 

737 

Chapter 4 

738 

Chapter 5 

739 

Chapter 6 

741 

Chapter 7 

744 

Chapter 8 

746 

Chapter 9 

748 

Chapter 10 

750 

Chapter 1 1 

751 

Chapter 12 

752 


xv 



Chapter 13 753 

Chapter 14 754 

Chapter 15 755 

Augustin undertakes the refutation of the arguments which might be derived 756 
from the epistle of Cyprian to Jubaianus, to give color to the view that the 
baptism of Christ could not be conferred by heretics. 

Chapter 1 757 

Chapter 2 758 

Chapter 3 760 

Chapter 4 762 

Chapter 5 763 

Chapter 6 764 

Chapter 7 765 

Chapter 8 766 

Chapter 9 767 

Chapter 10 768 

Chapter 11 769 

Chapter 12 770 

Chapter 13 771 

Chapter 14 772 

Chapter 15 774 

Chapter 16 775 

Chapter 17 777 

Chapter 18 778 

Chapter 19 780 

In which he treats of what follows in the same epistle of Cyprian to Jubaianus. 785 

Chapter 1 786 

Chapter 2 787 

Chapter 3 788 

Chapter 4 790 

Chapter 5 792 

Chapter 6 794 


xvi 



Chapter 7 796 

Chapter 8 798 

Chapter 9 800 

Chapter 10 802 

Chapter 11 805 

Chapter 12 806 

Chapter 13 808 

Chapter 14 810 

Chapter 15 812 

Chapter 16 814 

Chapter 17 815 

Chapter 18 816 

Chapter 19 817 

Chapter 20 818 

Chapter 21 819 

Chapter 22 821 

Chapter 23 823 

Chapter 24 824 

Chapter 25 825 

Chapter 26 826 

He examines the last part of the epistle of Cyprian to Jubaianus, together with 827 
his epistle to Quintus, the letter of the African synod to the Numidian bishops, 
and Cyprian’s epistle to Pompeius. 

Chapter 1 828 

Chapter 2 830 

Chapter 3 831 

Chapter 4 832 

Chapter 5 833 

Chapter 6 834 

Chapter 7 835 

Chapter 8 836 

Chapter 9 837 

xvii 



Chapter 10 839 

Chapter 1 1 840 

Chapter 12 841 

Chapter 13 842 

Chapter 14 844 

Chapter 15 845 

Chapter 16 846 

Chapter 17 847 

Chapter 18 849 

Chapter 19 850 

Chapter 20 852 

Chapter 21 853 

Chapter 22 855 

Chapter 23 856 

Chapter 24 858 

Chapter 25 859 

Chapter 26 860 

Chapter 27 861 

Chapter 28 863 

In which is considered the Council of Carthage, held under the authority and 864 

presidency of Cyprian, to determine the question of the baptism of heretics. 

Chapter 1 865 

Chapter 2 867 

Chapter 3 869 

Chapter 4 870 

Chapter 5 871 

Chapter 6 872 

Chapter 7 873 

Chapter 8 875 

Chapter 9 877 

Chapter 10 878 

Chapter 11 879 

xviii 



Chapter 12 

880 

Chapter 13 

883 

Chapter 14 

884 

Chapter 15 

886 

Chapter 16 

887 

Chapter 17 

888 

Chapter 18 

889 

Chapter 19 

890 

Chapter 20 

891 

Chapter 21 

892 

Chapter 22 

893 

Chapter 23 

894 

Chapter 24 

895 

Chapter 25 

897 

Chapter 26 

899 

Chapter 27 

900 

Chapter 28 

901 

Chapter 29 

902 

Chapter 30 

904 

Chapter 31 

905 

Chapter 32 

907 

Chapter 33 

908 

Chapter 34 

909 

Chapter 35 

911 

Chapter 36 

912 

Chapter 37 

913 

Chapter 38 

914 

Chapter 39 

915 

Chapter 40 

916 

Chapter 41 

917 

Chapter 42 

918 

Chapter 43 

919 


XIX 



Chapter 44 920 

In which the remaining judgments of the Council of Carthage are examined. 922 
Chapter 1 923 

Chapter 2 925 

Chapter 3 927 

Chapter 4 928 

Chapter 5 929 

Chapter 6 930 

Chapter 7 931 

Chapter 8 932 

Chapter 9 933 

Chapter 10 934 

Chapter 11 935 

Chapter 12 936 

Chapter 13 937 

Chapter 14 938 

Chapter 15 939 

Chapter 16 940 

Chapter 17 941 

Chapter 18 942 

Chapter 19 943 

Chapter 20 944 

Chapter 21 945 

Chapter 22 946 

Chapter 23 947 

Chapter 24 948 

Chapter 25 949 

Chapter 26 951 

Chapter 27 952 

Chapter 28 953 

Chapter 29 954 

Chapter 30 955 


xx 



Chapter 31 956 

Chapter 32 957 

Chapter 33 958 

Chapter 34 959 

Chapter 35 960 

Chapter 36 961 

Chapter 37 962 

Chapter 38 963 

Chapter 39 964 

Chapter 40 965 

Chapter 41 966 

Chapter 42 967 

Chapter 43 968 

Chapter 44 969 

Chapter 45 970 

Chapter 46 971 

Chapter 47 972 

Chapter 48 973 

Chapter 49 974 

Chapter 50 975 

Chapter 51 976 

Chapter 52 978 

Chapter 53 979 

Chapter 54 981 

Answer to the Letters of Petilian, the Donatist. 982 

Title Page. 982 

Preface. 983 

Written in the form of a letter addressed to the Catholics, in which the first 984 
portion of the letter which Petilian had written to his adherents is examined 
and refuted. 

Chapter 1 985 

Chapter 2 987 

xxi 



Chapter 3 

988 

Chapter 4 

989 

Chapter 5 

990 

Chapter 6 

991 

Chapter 7 

992 

Chapter 8 

993 

Chapter 9 

994 

Chapter 10 

995 

Chapter 1 1 

996 

Chapter 12 

997 

Chapter 13 

998 

Chapter 14 

999 

Chapter 15 

1000 

Chapter 16 

1001 

Chapter 17 

1002 

Chapter 18 

1003 

Chapter 19 

1004 

Chapter 20 

1005 

Chapter 21 

1006 

Chapter 22 

1007 

Chapter 23 

1008 

Chapter 24 

1009 

Chapter 25 

1010 

Chapter 26 

1011 

Chapter 27 

1012 

Chapter 28 

1013 

Chapter 29 

1014 


In which Augustin replies to all the several statements in the letter of Petilianus, 1015 
as though disputing with an adversary face to face. 


Chapter 1 

1016 

Chapter 2 

1017 

Chapter 3 

1018 


XXII 



Chapter 4 

1019 

Chapter 5 

1020 

Chapter 6 

1021 

Chapter 7 

1022 

Chapter 8 

1024 

Chapter 9 

1028 

Chapter 10 

1029 

Chapter 1 1 

1030 

Chapter 12 

1031 

Chapter 13 

1032 

Chapter 14 

1033 

Chapter 15 

1036 

Chapter 16 

1037 

Chapter 17 

1038 

Chapter 18 

1039 

Chapter 19 

1041 

Chapter 20 

1043 

Chapter 21 

1045 

Chapter 22 

1046 

Chapter 23 

1048 

Chapter 24 

1053 

Chapter 25 

1054 

Chapter 26 

1055 

Chapter 27 

1056 

Chapter 28 

1057 

Chapter 29 

1058 

Chapter 30 

1059 

Chapter 31 

1061 

Chapter 32 

1062 

Chapter 33 

1066 

Chapter 34 

1068 

Chapter 35 

1069 


xxiii 



Chapter 36 

1070 

Chapter 37 

1071 

Chapter 38 

1076 

Chapter 39 

1077 

Chapter 40 

1080 

Chapter 41 

1081 

Chapter 42 

1082 

Chapter 43 

1083 

Chapter 44 

1085 

Chapter 45 

1086 

Chapter 46 

1087 

Chapter 47 

1088 

Chapter 48 

1090 

Chapter 49 

1091 

Chapter 50 

1093 

Chapter 51 

1094 

Chapter 52 

1095 

Chapter 53 

1096 

Chapter 54 

1097 

Chapter 55 

1098 

Chapter 56 

1099 

Chapter 57 

1100 

Chapter 58 

1101 

Chapter 59 

1103 

Chapter 60 

1104 

Chapter 61 

1105 

Chapter 62 

1106 

Chapter 63 

1107 

Chapter 64 

1108 

Chapter 65 

1109 

Chapter 66 

1110 

Chapter 67 

1111 


XXIV 



Chapter 68 

1112 

Chapter 69 

1113 

Chapter 70 

1115 

Chapter 71 

1116 

Chapter 72 

1117 

Chapter 73 

1118 

Chapter 74 

1119 

Chapter 75 

1121 

Chapter 76 

1122 

Chapter 77 

1123 

Chapter 78 

1124 

Chapter 79 

1125 

Chapter 80 

1127 

Chapter 81 

1128 

Chapter 82 

1129 

Chapter 83 

1131 

Chapter 84 

1132 

Chapter 85 

1135 

Chapter 86 

1137 

Chapter 87 

1138 

Chapter 88 

1139 

Chapter 89 

1140 

Chapter 90 

1142 

Chapter 91 

1143 

Chapter 92 

1144 

Chapter 93 

1145 

Chapter 94 

1158 

Chapter 95 

1159 

Chapter 96 

1160 

Chapter 97 

1161 

Chapter 98 

1163 

Chapter 99 

1165 


XXV 



Chapter 100 1167 

Chapter 101 1169 

Chapter 102 1170 

Chapter 103 1172 

Chapter 104 1174 

Chapter 105 1176 

Chapter 106 1179 

Chapter 107 1181 

Chapter 108 1182 

Chapter 109 1183 


In this book Augustin refutes the second letter which Petilianus wrote to him 1185 
after having seen the first of Augustin’s earlier books. This letter had been full 
of violent language; and Augustin rather shows that the arguments of Petilianus 
had been deficient and irrelevant, than brings forward arguments in support of 
his own statements. 


Chapter 1 

1186 

Chapter 2 

1188 

Chapter 3 

1190 

Chapter 4 

1192 

Chapter 5 

1193 

Chapter 6 

1194 

Chapter 7 

1195 

Chapter 8 

1196 

Chapter 9 

1197 

Chapter 10 

1198 

Chapter 1 1 

1199 

Chapter 12 

1200 

Chapter 13 

1201 

Chapter 14 

1202 

Chapter 15 

1203 

Chapter 16 

1204 

Chapter 17 

1205 


xxvi 



Chapter 18 

1206 

Chapter 19 

1207 

Chapter 20 

1208 

Chapter 21 

1209 

Chapter 22 

1211 

Chapter 23 

1212 

Chapter 24 

1213 

Chapter 25 

1214 

Chapter 26 

1215 

Chapter 27 

1216 

Chapter 28 

1218 

Chapter 29 

1219 

Chapter 30 

1220 

Chapter 31 

1221 

Chapter 32 

1222 

Chapter 33 

1223 

Chapter 34 

1224 

Chapter 35 

1225 

Chapter 36 

1226 

Chapter 37 

1228 

Chapter 38 

1229 

Chapter 39 

1230 

Chapter 40 

1231 

Chapter 41 

1233 

Chapter 42 

1234 

Chapter 43 

1235 

Chapter 44 

1236 

Chapter 45 

1237 

Chapter 46 

1238 

Chapter 47 

1240 

Chapter 48 

1241 

Chapter 49 

1242 


xxvii 



Chapter 50 

1244 

Chapter 51 

1247 

Chapter 52 

1249 

Chapter 53 

1251 

Chapter 54 

1252 

Chapter 55 

1253 

Chapter 56 

1255 

Chapter 57 

1256 

Chapter 58 

1257 

Chapter 59 

1259 

The Correction of the Donatists. 

1260 

Title Page. 

1260 

Argument. 

1261 

Chapter 1 

1262 

Chapter 2 

1265 

Chapter 3 

1269 

Chapter 4 

1272 

Chapter 5 

1275 

Chapter 6 

1277 

Chapter 7 

1281 

Chapter 8 

1285 

Chapter 9 

1287 

Chapter 10 

1291 

Chapter 1 1 

1295 

Subject Indexes 

1298 

The Anti-Manichaean Writings 

1298 

The Anti-Donatist Writings 

1316 

Indexes 

1340 

Index of Scripture References 

1341 

Greek Words and Phrases 

1348 

German Words and Phrases 

1349 

French Words and Phrases 

1351 

xxviii 



Index of Pages of the Print Edition 


1352 


XXIX 




ErheneaL Liknany 


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xxx 


Title Page 


A SELECT LIBRARY 
OF THE 

NICENE AND 
POST-NICENE FATHERS 

OF 

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 

EDITED BY 

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D., 

PROFESSOR IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK, 

IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPE 

AND AMERICA. 

VOLUME IV 

ST. AUGUSTIN: 

THE WRITINGS AGAINST THE MANICHiEANS 

AND 

AGAINST THE DONATISTS 

T&T CLARK 
EDINBURGH 


WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY 
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 


1 



Editor’s Preface. 


Editors Preface 


This fourth volume of St. Augustin’s Works contains his polemical writings in vindication 
of the Catholic Church against the heresy of the Manichaeans, and the schism of the 
Donatists. The former are contained in Tom. II. and VIII., the latter in Tom. IX., of the 
Benedictine edition. 

Like the preceding volumes, this also is more than a reprint of older translations, and 
contains important additions not previously published. 

I. — Seven Writings Against the Manichaean Heresy. Four of these were translated by 
the Rev. Richard Stothert, of Bombay, for Dr. Dods’ edition, published by T. & T. Clark, 
Edinburgh, 1872, and revised by Dr. Albert H. Newman, of Toronto, for the American 
edition. The other three treatises are translated, I believe for the first time, by Dr. Newman 
for this edition. (See Contents.) 

The Edinburgh translation, especially of the first two treatises, is sufficiently faithful 
and idiomatic, and needed very little alteration by the American editor, who compared it 
sentence by sentence with the Latin original, and made changes only where they seemed 
necessary. 

This part of the volume is also enriched by an introductory essay of Dr. Newman, which 
embodies the literature and the results of the most recent as well as the earlier researches 
concerning that anti-Christian heresy. 

II. — The Writings Against the Donatists. These were well translated by the Rev. J. R. 
King, of Oxford, and are slightly revised by Dr. Hartranff, of Hartford, after a careful com- 
parison with the Latin. 

The literary introduction of Dr. Hartranft, in connection with the translator’s historical 
preface, will place the reader in the situation of the controversy between the Catholic Church 
and the Donatists at the time of St. Augustin. 

In both sections the treatises are arranged in chronological order. 

The fifth volume will contain the writings of St. Augustin against the Pelagians and 
Semi-Pelagians. It is in the hands of the printer and will be published in October. 

Philip Schaff. 

New York, June, 1887. 


2 



Contents 


CONTENTS. 


Preface. 

I. THE ANTI-MANICH7EAN WRITINGS. 

Translated by the Rev. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A., Bombay, and Prof. Albert H. Newman, 
D.D., LL.D., Toronto 

Introductory essay on the Manichaean heresy. 

By Dr. Newman. 

On the Morals of the Catholic Church 
(. De Moribus Ecclesice Catholicce), 

A.D. 388. 

Translated by the Rev. Richard Stothert. 

On the Morals of the Manichaeans 
{De Moribus Manichceorum), 

A.D. 388. 

Translated by the Rev. Richard Stothert. 

On Two Souls, against the Manichaeans 
{De Duabus Animabus, contra Manichceos), 

A.D. 391. 

Translated by Dr. Newman. 

Acts or Disputation against Fortunatus the Manichaean 
{Acta seu Disputatio contra Fortunatum Manichceum), 

A.D. 392. 

Translated by Dr. Newman. 

Against the Epistle of Manichaeus called Fundamental 
{Contra Epistolam Manichcei quam vocant Fundamenti), 

A.D. 397. 

Translated by the Rev. R. Stothert. 

Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 
{Contra Faustus Manichceum, Libri XXXIII ), 

A.D. 400. 



3 



Contents 


Translated by the Rev. R. Stothert. 

Concerning the nature of good, against the Manichaeans 
(. De Natura Boni contra Manichceos), 

A.D. 404. 

Translated by Dr. Newman. 

II. THE ANTI-DONATIST WRITINGS. 

Translated by the Rev. J.R. King, M.A., Vicar of St. Peter’s in the East, Oxford, and late Fellow 
and Tutor of Merton College, Oxford. 

The Translation revised, with additional annotations, by the Rev. Chester D. Hartranft, D.D., 
Professor of Biblical and Ecclesiastical History in the Theological Seminary at Hartford, 
Connecticut. 

Introductory to the Anti-Donatist Writings. 

By Dr. Hartranft. 

On Baptism, against the Donatists 
{De Baptismo, contra Donatistas, Libri VII ), 

Circa, A.D. 400. 

Answer to Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta 
( Contra Litteras Petiliani Donatistce Cirtensis Episcopi, Libri III ), 

A.D. 400. 

The Correction of the Donatists 
{De Correctione Donatistarum Liber seu Epistola CLXXXV ), 

Circa, A.D. 417. 

Index to the Anti-Manichaean Writings. 

Index to the Anti-Donatist Writings. 


4 



Writings in Connection with the Manichcean Controversy. 


WRITINGS 

IN CONNECTION WITH THE 

MANICTLEAN CONTROVERSY 

TRANSLATED BY THE 
REV. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A., 

BOMBAY; 

AND 

ALBERT H. NEWMAN, D.D., LL.D. 

PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY AND COMPARATIVE RELIGION, IN 

TORONTO 

BAPTIST (THEOLOGICAL) COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA. 


5 



Introductory Essay on the Manichcean Heresy. 


INTRODUCTORY ESSAY ON THE MANICHCEAN 

HERESY, 

By Albert H. Newman, D.D., LL.D. 


6 



Literature. 


Chapter I. — Literature. 


7 



Sources. 


I. Sources. 

The following bibliography of Manichaeism is taken from Schaff s History of the Chris- 
tian Church, vol. II. pp. 498-500 (new edition). Additions are indicated by brackets. 

1. Oriental Sources: The most important, though of comparatively late date. 

(a) Mohammedan (Arabic): Kitab al Fihrist. A history of Arabic literature to 987, by 
an Arab of Bagdad, usually called Ibn Abi Jakub An-Nadim; brought to light by Fliigel, and 
published after his death by Rodiger and Muller, in 2 vols. Leipz. 1871-72. Book IX. section 
first, treats of Manichaeism. Fliigel’s translation, see below. Kessler calls the Fihrist a 
"Fundstatte allerersten Ranges. " Next to it comes the relation of the Mohammedan philo- 
sopher, Al-Shahrastani (d. 1153), in his History of Religious Parties and Philosophical Sects, 
Ed. Cureton, Lond. 1842, 2 vols. (I. 188-192); German translation by Haarbriicker, Halle, 
1851. On other Mohammedan sources, see Kessler in Herzog, IX., 225 sq. 

(b) Persian Sources: relating to the life of Mani, the Shahnameh (the King’s Book) of 
Firdausi; ed. by Jul. Mohl, Paris, 1866 (V. 472-475). See Kessler, ibid. 225. 

[Albiruni’s Chronology of Ancient Nations, tr. by E. Sachau, and published by the Ori- 
ental Translation Fund, Lond. 1879. Albiruni lived 973-1048, and is said to have possessed 
vast literary resources no longer available to us. His work seems to be based on early 
Manichaean sources, and strikingly confirms the narrative preserved by the Fihrist. See also 
articles by West and Thomas in Journal of the Asiatic Society, 1868, 1870, 1871.] 

(c) Christian Sources: In Arabic, the Alexandrian Patriarch Eutychius (d. 916). Annales, 
ed. Pococke, Oxon. 1628; Barhebraeus (d. 1286), in his Historia Dynastiarum, ed. Pococke. 
In Syriac: Ephraem Syrus (d. 393), in various writings. Esnig or Esnik, an Armenian bishop 
of the 5th Century, who wrote against Marcion and Mani (German translation from the 
Armenian by C. Fr. Neumann, in Illgen’s Zeitschrift fur die Hist. Theologie, 1834, pp.77-78). 

2. Greek Sources: [Alexander of Lycopolis: The Tenets of the Manichceans (first pub- 
lished by Combefis, with a Latin version, in the Auctararium Novissimum, Bibl. S. S. Patrum; 
again by Gallandi, in his Bibl. Patrum, vol. IV. p. 73 sq. An English translation by Rev. James 
B.H. Hawkins, M .A ., appeared in Clark’s Ante-Nicene Library, Vol. XIV. p. 236 sq.; Am. 
ed. vol. VI. p. 237 sq. Alexander represents himself as a convert from Paganism to 
Manichaeism, and from Manichaeism to Orthodoxy. He claims to have learned Manichaeism 
from those who were intimately associated with Mani himself, and is, therefore, one of the 
earliest witnesses. 1 ] Eusebius (H. E. VII. 31, a brief account). Epiphanius (Haer. 66). Cyril 
of Jerusalem ( Catech . VI. 20 sq.). Titus of Bostra (npoo Mavixafouo, ed P. de Lagarde, 
1859). Photius: Adv. Manichceos (Cod. 179, Biblioth.). John of Damascus: De Haeres. and 
Dial. [Petrus Siculus, Hist. Manichceorum .] 


1 Baur discredits this claim on internal grounds ( Das Munich. Religionssystem , p. 7). 



Sources. 


3. Latin Sources: Archelaus (Bishop of Cascar in Mesopotamia, d. about 278): Acta 
Disputationis cum Manete Hceresiarcha; first written in Syriac, and so far belonging to the 
Oriental Christian Sources (Comp. Jerome, de Vir. III. 72), but extant only in a Latin trans- 
lation, which seems to have been made from the Greek, edited by Zacagni (Rome, 1698), 
and Routh (in Reliquice Sacrce, vol. V. 3-206); Eng. transl. in Clark’s Ante-Nicene Library 
(vol. XX. 272-419). [Am. ed. vol. VI. p. 173 sq.]. These Acts purport to contain the report 
of a disputation between Archelaus and Mani before a large assembly, which was in full 
sympathy with the orthodox bishop, but (as Beausobre first proved), they are in form a fiction 
from the first quarter of the fourth century (about 320), by a Syrian ecclesiastic (probably 
of Edessa), yet based upon Manichaean documents, and containing much information about 
Manichaean doctrines. They consist of various pieces, and were the chief source of inform- 
ation to the West. Mani is represented (ch. 12), as appearing in a many-colored cloak and 
trousers, with a sturdy staff of ebony, a Babylonian book under his left arm, and with a mien 
of an old Persian master. In his defense he quotes freely from the N.T. At the end, he makes 
his escape to Persia (ch. 55). Comp. H. V. Zittwitz: Die Acta Archelai etManetis untersucht, 
in Kahnis’ Zeitschrift fur d. Hist. Theol. 1873, No. IV. Oblasinski: Acta Disput. Arch., etc. 
Lips. 1874 (inaugural dissert.). Ad. Harnack: Die Acta Archelai und das Diatessaron Tatians, 
in Texte und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. der altchristl. Lit. vol. I. Heft 3 (1883), p. 137-153. 
Harnack tries to prove that the Gospel variations of Archelaus are taken from Tatian’s 
Diatessaron. 

St. Augustin (d. 430, the chief Latin authority next to the translation of Archelaus). 
[Besides the treatises published in Clark’s series, Contra Fortunatum quendam 
Manichceorum Presbyterum Disput. I. et II., Contra Adimantum Manichcei discipulum, 
Contra Secundinum Manichceum, DeNatura Boni, De duabus Animabus, De Utilitate Cre- 
dendi, De Haeres. XLVI. Of these, De duabus Animabus, Contra Fortunatum, and De Natura 
Boni are added in the present edition, and De Utilitate Credendi has been included among 
Augustin’s shorter theological treatises in vol. III. of the present series. In the Confessions 
and the Letters, moreover, the Manichaeans figure prominently. The treatises included in 
the present series may be said to fairly represent Augustin’s manner of dealing with 
Manichaeism. The Anti-Manichaean writings are found chiefly in vol. VIII. of the Benedictine 
edition, and in volumes I. and XI. of the Migne reprint. Augustin’s personal connection 
with the sect extending over a period of nine years, and his consummate ability in dealing 
with this form of error, together with the fact that he quotes largely from Manichaean liter- 
ature, render his works the highest authority for Manichaeism as it existed in the West at 
the close of the fifth century.] Comp, also the Acts of Councils against the Manichaeans 
from the fourth century onwards, in Mansi and Hefele [and Hardouin] . 


9 



Modern Works. 


II. Modern Works. 

Isaac de Beausobre (b. 1659 in France, pastor of the French church in Berlin, d. 1738): 
Histoire Crit. de Manichee et du Manicheisme, Amst. 1634 and ’39, 2 vols. 4to. Part of the 
first volume is historical, the second doctrinal. Very full and scholarly. He intended to 
write a third volume on the later Manichaeans. F. Chr. Baur: Das Manichdische Religions- 
system nach den Quellen neu untersucht und entwickelt, Tub. 1831 (500 pages). A compre 
hensive, philosophical and critical view. He calls the Manich. system a "gliihend prdchtiges 
Natur-und Weltgedicht. " [An able critique of Baur’s work by Schneckenburger appeared 
in the "Theol. Studien u. Kritiken, " 1833, p. 875 sq. Schneckenburger strives to make it appear 
that Baur unduly minifies the Christian element in Manichaeism. Later researches have 
tended to confirm Baur’s main position. The Oriental sources employed by Fliigel and 
Kessler have thrown much light upon the character of primitive Manichaeism, and have 
enabled us to determine more precisely than Beausobre and Baur were able to do the con- 
stituent elements of Mani’s system. A.V. Wegnern: Manichceorum Indulgentice, Lips. 1827. 
Wegnern points out the resemblance between the Manichaean system, in accordance with 
which the "hearers" participate in the merits of the "elect" without subjecting themselves to 
the rigorous asceticism practiced by the latter, and the later doctrine and practice of indul- 
gences in the Roman Catholic church.] Trechsel: Ueber Kanon, Kritik und Exegese der 
Manichder, Bern, 1832. D.Chwolson: Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus, Petersb. 1856, 2 vols. 
G. Flugel: Mani, seine Lehre und seine Scriften. Aus dem Fihrist des Abi Jakub an-Nadim 
(987), Leipz. 1862. Text, translation and commentary, 440 pages. [Of the highest value, the 
principal document on which the work is based being, probably, the most authentic expos- 
ition of primitive Manichaean doctrine.] K. Kessler: Untersuchungen zur Genesis des Manich. 
Rel. Systems, Leipz. 1876. By the same: Mani oder Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Religionsmi- 
schung im Semitismus, Leipz. 1887. See also his thorough article, Mani und die Manichcer, 
in "Herzog," new ed. vol. IX. 223-259 (abridged in Schaffs "Encyclop." II. 1396-1398). 
[Kessler has done more than any other writer to establish the relation between the 
Manichaeans and the earlier Oriental sects, and between these and the old Babylonian reli- 
gion. The author of this introduction wishes to express his deep obligation to Kessler. The 
article on the "Mandaer" in "Herzog," by the same author, is valuable in this connection, 
though his attempt to exclude all historical connection between this Babylonian Gnostic 
sect and Palestine can hardly be pronounced a success. J. B. Mozley: Ruling Ideas in Early 
Ages-, lecture on "The Manichaeans and the Jewish Fathers," with special reference to Au- 
gustin’s method of dealing with the cavils of the Manichaeans.] G. T. Stokes: Manes and 
Manichaeans, in "Smith and Wace," III. 792-801. A. Harnack: Manichaeism in 9th ed. of 
the "Encycl. Britannica," vol. XV. (1883), 481-487. [Also in German, as a Beigabe to his 
Lehrbuch d. Dogmengeschichte, vol. I. p. 681 sq. Harnack follows Kessler in all essential 
particulars. Of Kessler’s article in "Herzog" he says: "This article contains the best that we 


10 



Modern Works. 


possess on Manichaeism." In this we concur. W. Cunningham: S. Austin and his Place in 
the History of Christian Thought, Hulsean Lectures, 1885, p. 45-72, and passim, Lond. 1886. 
This treatise is of considerable value, especially as it regards the philosophical attitude of 
Augustin towards Manichaeism.] The accounts of Mosheim, Lardner, Schrockh, Walch, 
Neander, Gieseler [and Wolf]. 


11 



Philosophical Basis, and An tecedents of Manichceism. 


Chapter II. — Philosophical Basis, and Antecedents of Manichseism. 

"About 500 years before the commencement of the Christian era," writes Professor 
Monier Williams, "a great stir seems to have taken place in Indo-Aryan, as in Grecian 
minds, and indeed in thinking minds everywhere throughout the then civilized world. Thus 
when Buddha arose in India, Greece had her thinkers in Pythagoras, Persia in Zoroaster, 
and China in Confucius. Men began to ask themselves earnestly such questions as — What 
am I? Whence have I come? Whither am I going? How can I explain my consciousness of 
personal existence? What is the relationship between my material and immaterial nature? 
What is the world in which I find myself? did a wise, good and all-powerful Being create it 
out of nothing? or did it evolve out of an eternal germ? or did it come together by the com- 
bination of eternal atoms? If created by a Being of infinite wisdom, how can I account for 
the inequality of condition in it — good and evil, happiness and misery. Has the Creator 
form or is he formless? Has he any qualities or none?" 

It is true that such questions pressed themselves with special importunity upon the 
thinkers of the age mentioned, but we should be far astray if we should think for a moment 
that now for the first time they suggested themselves and demanded solution. The fact is 
that the earliest literary records of the human race bear evidence of high thinking on the 
fundamental problems of God, man, and the world, and the relations of these to each other. 
Recent scholars have brought to light facts of the utmost interest with reference to the pre- 
Babylonian (Accadian) religion. A rude nature-worship, with a pantheistic basis, but assum- 
ing a polytheistic form, seems to have prevailed in Mesopotamia from a very early period. 
"Spirit everywhere dispersed produced all the phenomena of nature, and directed and anim- 
ated all created beings. They caused evil and good, guided the movements of the celestial 
bodies, brought back the seasons in their order, made the wind to blow and the rain to fall, 
and produced by their influence atmospheric phenomena both beneficial and destructive; 
they also rendered the earth fertile, and caused plants to germinate and to bear fruit, presided 
over the births and preserved the lives of living beings, and yet at the same time sent death 
and disease. There were spirits of this kind everywhere, in the starry heavens, in the earth, 
and in the intermediate region of the atmosphere; each element was full of them, earth, air, 
fire and water; and nothing could exist without them... As evil is everywhere present in 
nature side by side with good, plagues with favorable influences, death with life, destruction 
with fruitfulness; an idea of dualism as decided as in the religion of Zoroaster pervaded the 
conceptions of the supernatural world formed by the Accadian magicians, the evil beings 
of which they feared more than they valued the powers of good. There were essentially good 
spirits, and others equally bad. These opposing troops constituted a vast dualism, which 


2 Indian Wisdom , 3rd ed. (1876), p. 49. 


12 



Philosophical Basis, and An tecedents of Manichceism. 


Q 

embraced the whole universe and kept up a perpetual struggle in all parts of the creation." 
This primitive Turanian quasi-dualism (it was not dualism in the strictest sense of the term) 
was not entirely obliterated by the Cushite and Semitic civilizations and cults that successively 
overlaid it. So firmly rooted had this early mode of viewing the world become that it mater- 
ially influenced the religions of the invaders rather than suffered extermination. In the 
Babylonian religion of the Semitic period the dualistic element was manifest chiefly in the 
magical rites of the Chaldean priests who long continued to use Accadian as their sacred 
language. "Upon this dualistic conception rested the whole edifice of sacred magic, of magic 
regarded as a holy and legitimate intercourse established by rites of divine origin, between 
man and the supernatural beings surrounding him on all sides. Placed unhappily in the 
midst of this perpetual struggle between the good and bad spirits, man felt himself attacked 
by them at every moment; his fate depended upon them. ... He needed then some aid against 
the attacks of the bad spirits, against the plagues and diseases which they sent upon him. 
This help he hoped to find in incantations, in mysterious and powerful words, the secret of 
which was known only to the priests of magic, in their prescribed rites and their talis- 
mans... The Chaldeans had such a great idea of the power and efficacy of their formulae, 
rites and amulets, that they came to regard them as required to fortify the good spirits 
themselves in their combat with the demons, and as able to give them help by providing 
them with invincible weapons which should ensure success ." 3 4 A large number of magical 
texts have been preserved and deciphered, and among them "the ‘favorable Alad,’ the ‘favor- 
able Lamma,’ and the ‘favorable Utuq,’ are very frequently opposed. . .to the ‘evil Alad,’ the 
‘evil Lamma,’ the ‘evil Utuq.’" 5 It would be interesting to give in detail the results of the 
researches of George Smith, Lenormant, A.H. Sayce, E. Schrader, Friedrich Delitzsch and 
others, with reference to the elaborate mythological and cosmological systems of the Baby- 
lonians. Some of the features thereof will be brought out further on by way of comparison 
with the Manichaean mythology and cosmology. Suffice it to say that the dualistic element 
is everywhere manifest, though not in so consistent and definite a form as in Zoroastrianism, 
to say nothing of Manichaeism. 

The Medo-Persian invasion brought into Babylonia the Zoroastrian system, already 
modified, no doubt, by the Elamitic (Cushite) cult. Yet the old Babylonian religion was too 
firmly rooted to be supplanted, even by the religion of such conquerors as Darius and Cyrus. 
Modifications, however, it undoubtedly underwent. The dualism inherent in the system 
became more definite. The influence of the Jews in Mesopotamia upon the ancient popula- 
tion cannot have been inconsiderable, especially as many of the former, including probably 


3 Lenormant, Chaldean Magic (1877), p.144-145. 

4 Ibid. p. 146-147. 

5 Ibid. p. 148. 


13 



Philosophical Basis, and An tecedents of Manichceism. 


most of the captives of the Northern tribes, were absorbed by the latter. As a result of this 
blending of old Babylonian, Persian, and Hebrew blood, traditions, and religious ideas, there 
was developed in Mesopotamia a type of religious thought that furnished a philosophical 
basis and a mythological and cosmological garnishing for the Manichaean system. Dualism, 
therefore, arising from efforts of the unaided human mind to account for the natural phe- 
nomena that appear beneficent and malignant, partly of old Babylonian origin and partly 
of Persian, but essentially modified by Hebrew influence more or less pure, furnished to 
Mani the foundation of his system. We shall attempt at a later stage of the discussion to 
determine more accurately the relations of Manichaeism to the various systems with which 
correctly or incorrectly it has been associated. Suffice it to say, at present, that no new 
problem presented itself to Mani, and that he furnished no essentially new solution of the 
problems that had occupied the attention of his countrymen for more than 2500 years. 
Before proceeding to institute a comparison between Manichaeism and the various systems 
of religious thought to which it stands related, it will be advantageous to have before us an 
exposition of the Manichaean system itself, based upon the most authentic sources. 


14 



The Manichcean System. 


Chapter III. — The Manichsean System. 

Earlier writers on Manichaeism have, for the most part, made the Acta Disp. Archelai 
et Manetis and the anti-Manichaean writings of Augustin the basis of their representations. 
For later Manichaeism in the West, Augustin is beyond question the highest authority, and 
the various polemical treatises which he put forth exhibit the system under almost every 
imaginable aspect. The "Acts of the Disputation of Archelaus and Manes," while it certainly 
rests upon a somewhat extensive and accurative knowledge of early Manichaeism, is partially 
discredited by its generally admitted spuriousness — spuriousness in the sense that it is not 
a genuine record of a real debate. It is highly probable that debates of this kind occurred 
between Mani and various Christian leaders in the East, and so Mani may at one time or 
other have given utterance to most of the statements that are attributed to him in this writing; 
or these statements may have been derived, for substance, from his numerous treatises, and 
have been artfully adapted to the purposes of the writer of the "Acts." It is certain that most 
of the representations are correct. But we can no longer rely upon it as an authentic first- 
hand authority. Since Fliigel published the treatise from the Fihrist entitled "The Doctrines 
of the Manichaeans, by Muhammad ben Ishak," with a German translation and learned an- 
notations, it has been admitted that this treatise must be made the basis for all future repres- 
entations of Manichaeism. Kessler, while he has had access to many other Oriental documents 
bearing upon the subject, agrees with Fliigel in giving the first place to this writing. On this 
exposition of the doctrines of the Manichaeans, therefore, as expounded by Fliigel and 
Kessler, we must chiefly rely. The highly poetical mythological form which Mani gave to 
his speculations renders it exceedingly difficult to arrive at assured results with reference to 
fundamental principles. If we attempt to state in a plain matter-of-fact way just what Mani 
taught we are in constant danger of misrepresenting him. In fact one of the favorite methods 
employed against Mani’s doctrines by the writer of the "Acts of the Disputation," etc., as 
well as by Augustin and others, was to reduce Mani’s poetical fancies to plain language and 
thus to show their absurdity. The considerations which have led experts like Fliigel and 
Kessler to put so high an estimate upon this document, and the discussions as to the original 
language in which the sources of the document were written, are beyond the scope of this 
essay. Suffice it to say, that so far as we are able to form a judgment on the matter, the 
reasons for ascribing antiquity and authenticity to the representation of Manichaeism con- 
tained in the document are decisive. 

1. Mani’s Life. According to the Fihrist, Mani’s father, a Persian by race, resided at 
Coche on the Tigris, about forty miles north of Babylon. Afterwards he removed into 
Babylonia and settled at Modem, where he frequented an idol-temple like the rest of the 
people. He next became associated with a party named Mugtasila (Baptizers), probably 
identical with or closely related to the Mandaeans and Sabeans, both of which parties made 


15 



The Manichcean System. 


much of ceremonial bathings. Mani, who was born after the removal to Babylonia, is related 
to have been the recipient of angelic visitations at the age of twelve. Even at this time he 
was forewarned that he must leave the religion of his father at the age of twenty- four. At 
the appointed time the angel At-Taum appeared again and announced to him his mission. 
"Hail, Mani, from me and the Lord, who has sent me to thee and chosen thee for his mission. 
But he commands thee to invite men to thy doctrine and to proclaim the glad tidings of 
truth that comes from him, and to bestow thereon all thy zeal." Mani entered upon his 
work, according to Flugel’s careful computation, April 1, 238, or, according to calculations 
based on another statement, in 252. Mani maintained that he was the Paraclete promised 
by Jesus. He is said, in this document, to have derived his teaching from the Magi and the 
Christians, and the characters in which he wrote his books, from the Syriac and the Persian. 
After travelling in many lands for forty years and disseminating his doctrines in India, China, 
and Turkestan, he succeeded in impressing his views upon Firuz, brother of King Sapor, 
who had intended to put him to death. Sapor became warmly attached to Mani and granted 
toleration to his followers. Afterwards, according to some accounts, Mani was imprisoned 
by Sapor and liberated by his successor Hormizd. He is said to have been crucified by order 
of King Bahraini I. (276-7), and his skin stuffed with straw is said to have been suspended 
at the city gate. Eusebius (H. E. VII. 31) describes Mani as "a barbarian in life, both in speech 
and conduct, who attempted to form himself into a Christ, and then also proclaimed himself 
to be the very Paraclete and the Holy Spirit. Then, as if he had been Christ, he selected 
twelve disciples, the partners of his new religion, and after patching together false and ungodly 
doctrines collected from a thousand heresies long since extinct, he swept them off like a 
deadly poison from Persia, upon this part of the world." The account given in the Acta 
Archel (written probably about 330-’40), is far more detailed than that of the Fihrist and 
differs widely therefrom. It contains much that is highly improbable. Mani is represented 
as having for his predecessors one Scythianus, an Egyptian heretic of Apostolic times, and 
Terebinth us, who went with him to Palestine and after the death of Scythianus removed to 
Babylonia. The writings of Terebinth us or Scythianus came into the possession of a certain 
widow, who purchased Mani when seven years of age (then named Cubricus) and made 
him heir of her property and books. He changed his name to Mani (Manes), and, having 
become imbued with the teachings of the books, began at about sixty years of age to promul- 
gate their teachings, choosing three disciples, Thomas, Addas and Hermas, to whom he 
entrusted the writings mentioned above, along with some of his own. Up to this time he 
knew little of Christianity, but having been imprisoned by the king for failure in a promised 
cure of the king’s son, he studied the Christian Scriptures and derived therefrom the idea 
of the Paraclete, which he henceforth applied to himself. After his escape the famous dialogue 
with Archelaus and that with Diodorus occurred. Returning to Arabion he was arrested, 
carried to Persia, flayed alive, and his skin stuffed and suspended as above. Some additional 


16 



The Manichcean System. 


facts from an Oriental source used by Beausobre have more or less verisimilitude. According 
to this, Mani was born of Magian parents about 240 A.D. He became skilled in music, 
mathematics, geography, astronomy, painting, medicine, and in the Scriptures. The account 
of his ascendancy over Sapor and his subsequent martyrdom is substantially the same as 
that of the Fihrist. Albiruni’s work (see bibliography preceding) confirms the account given 
by the Fihrist. The conversion of Sapor to Manichaeism (in A.D. 261) is said to be confirmed 
by Sassanian inscriptions (see Journal ofAsiat. Soc. 1868 p. 310-’41, and ibid. p. 376, and 
1871 p. 416). 

The Fihrist’s account contains a long list of the works of Mani, which is supplemented 
by other Oriental and Western notices. The list is interesting as showing the wide range of 
Mani’s literary activity, or at least of the literature that was afterwards connected with his 
name. 

2. Mani’s System. As the life of Mani has been the subject of diversified and contradict- 
ory representations, so also have his doctrines. Here, too, we must make the account given 
by the Fihrist fundamental. It will be convenient to treat the subject under the following 
heads: Theology, Cosmogony, Anthropology, Soteriology, Cultus, Eschatology, and Ethics. 

(1.) Theology. Mani taught dualism in the most unqualified sense. Zoroastrianism is 
commonly characterized as dualistic, yet it is so in no such sense as is Manichaeism. Accord- 
ing to the Fihrist, "Mani teaches: Two subsistences form the beginning of the world, the 
one light the other darkness; the two are separated from each other. The light is the first 
most glorious being, limited by no number, God himself, the King of the Paradise of Light. 
He has five members: meekness, knowledge, understanding, mystery, insight; and five 
other spiritual members: love, faith, truth, nobleness, and wisdom. He maintained further- 
more that the God of light, with these his attributes, is without beginning, but with him two 
equally eternal things likewise exist, the one the atmosphere, the other the earth. Mani 
adds: and the members of the atmosphere are five [the first series of divine attributes 
mentioned above are enumerated] ; and the members of the earth are five [the second series] . 
The other being is the darkness, and his members are five: cloud, burning, hot wind, poison, 
and darkness. Mani teaches: that the light subsistence borders immediately on the dark 
subsistence, without a dividing wall between them; the light touches with its (lowest) side 
the darkness, while upwards to the right and left it is unbounded. Even so the darkness is 
endless downwards and to the right and left." 

This represents Mani’s view of the eternally existent status quo, before the conflict began, 
and the endless state after the conflict ceases. What does Mani mean, when he enumerates 
two series of five attributes each as members of God, and straightway postulates the co- 
eternity of atmosphere and earth and divides these self-same attributes between the latter? 
Doubtless Mani’s theology was fundamentally pantheistic, i.e., pantheistic within the limits 
of each member of the dualism. The God of Light himself is apparently conceived of as 


17 



The Manichcecin System. 


transcending thought. Atmosphere and Earth (not the atmosphere and earth that we know, 
but ideal atmosphere and earth) are the aeons derived immediately from the Ineffable One 
and coeternal with him. The ten attributes are aeons which all belong primarily to the Su- 
preme Being and secondarily to the two great aeons, half to each. The question may arise, 
and has been often discussed, whether Mani meant to identify God (the Prince of Light) 
with the Kingdom of Light? His language, in this treatise, is wavering. He seems to struggle 
against such a representation, yet without complete success. 

What do the other sources teach with reference to the absoluteness of the dualism and 
with reference to the identification of the Prince of Light with the Kingdom of Light? Ac- 
cording to the Acts of the Disputation ofArchelaus and Manes, 6 7 Manes "worships two deities, 
unoriginated, self-existent, eternal, opposed the one to the other. Of them he represents 
the one as good, and the other as evil, and assigned the name of Light to the former, and 
that of Darkness to the latter." Again, Manes is represented as saying: "I hold that there are 
two natures, one good and another evil; and that the one which is good dwells in a certain 
part proper to it, but that the evil one is this world as well as all things in it, which are placed 
there like objects imprisoned in the portion of the wicked one" (1 John 5, 19). According 

n 

to Alexander of Lycopolis, "Mani laid down two principles, God and matter ( Hyle ). God 
he called good, and matter he affirmed to be evil. But God excelled more in good than 
matter in evil." Alexander goes on to show how Mani used the word Hyle, comparing the 
Manichaean with the Platonic teaching. Statements of substantially the same purport might 
be multiplied. As regards the identification of God (the King of Light) with the Kingdom 
of Light, and of Satan (the King of Darkness) with the Kingdom of Darkness, the sensuous 
poetical way in which Mani expressed his doctrines may leave us in doubt. The probability 
is, however, that he did pantheistically identify each element of the dualism with his King- 
dom. He personifies the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness, and peoples these 
Kingdoms with fanciful beings, which are to be regarded as personified attributes of the 
principles of darkness and light. 

A word on the Manichaean conception of matter or Hyle may not be out of place in this 
connection. It would seem that the Manichaeans practically identified Hyle or matter with 
the Kingdom of Darkness. At any rate Hyle is unoriginated and belongs wholly to this 
Kingdom. 

(2.) Cosmogony. So much for the Manichaean idea of the Kingdom of Light and the 
Kingdom of Darkness before the great conflict that resulted in the present order of things. 
Why did not they remain separate? Let us learn from the Fihrist’s narrative: "Mani teaches 
further: Out of this dark earth [the Kingdom of Darkness] arose Satan, not that he was in 



6 Ante-Nicene Library, Am. ed. vol. vi. pp. 182 and 188. 

7 Ibid. p. 241. 


18 


The Manichcean System. 


himself eternal from the beginning, yet were his substances in his elements unoriginated. 
These substances now united themselves out of his elements and went forth as Satan, his 
head as the head of a lion, his body as the body of a dragon, his wings as the wings of a bird, 
his tail as the tail of a great fish, and his four feet as the feet of creeping animals. When this 
Satan under the name Iblis, the (temporally considered) eternal (primeval), had arisen out 
of the darkness, he devoured and consumed everything, spread destruction right and left, 
and plunged into the deep, in all these movements bringing down from above desolation 
and annihilation. Then he strove for the height, and descried the beams of light; but they 
were opposed to him. When he saw later how exalted these were, he was terrified, shrivelled 
up, and merged himself in his elements. Hereupon he strove anew with such violence after 
the height, that the land of light descried the doings of Satan and how he was bent upon 
murder and destruction. After they had been apprised thereof, the world of Insight learned 
of it, then the world of Knowledge, then the world of Mystery, then the world of Understand- 
ing, then the world of Meekness. When at last, he further teaches, the King of the Paradise 
of Light had also learned of it, he thought how he might suppress Satan, and, Mani adds, 
those hosts of his would have been mighty enough to overpower Satan. Yet he desired to 
do this by means of his own might. Accordingly, he produced by means of the spirit of his 
right hand [i.e., the Gentle Breeze], his five worlds, and his twelve elements, a creature, and 
this is the (temporally considered) Eternal Man [Primordial Man], and summoned him to 
do battle with the Darkness. But Primordial Man, Mani adds, armed himself with the five 
races [natures], and these are the five gods, the Gentle Breeze, the Wind, the Light, the 
Water and the Fire. Of them he made his armor, and the first that he put on was the Gentle 
Breeze. He then covered the Gentle Breeze with the burning Light as with a mantle. He 
drew over the Light Water filled with atoms, and covered himself with the blowing Wind. 
Hereupon he took the Fire as a shield and as a lance in his hand, and precipitated himself 
suddenly out of Paradise until he reached the border of the region that is contiguous to the 
battle-field. The Primordial Devil also took his five races [natures]: Smoke, Burning, 
Darkness, Hot W ind and Cloud; armed himself with them; made of them a shield for himself; 
and went to meet Primordial Man. After they had fought for a long time the Primordial 
Devil vanquished the Primordial Man, devoured some of his light, and surrounded him at 
the same time with his races and elements. Then the King of the Paradise of Light sent 
other gods, freed him, and vanquished the Darkness. But he who was sent by the King of 
Light to rescue Primordial Man is called the Friend of the Light. This one made a precipitate 
descent, and Primordial Man was freed from the hellish substances, along with that which 
he had snatched from the spirit of Darkness and which had adhered to him. When, therefore, 
Mani proceeds, Joyfulness and the Spirit of Life drew near to the border, they looked down 
into the abyss of this deep hell and saw Primordial Man and the angels [i.e., the races or 
natures with which he was armed], how Iblis, the Proud Oppressors, and the Dark Life 


19 



The Manichcean System. 


surrounded them. And the Spirit of Life, says Mani, called Primordial Man with a loud 
voice as quick as lightning and Primordial Man became another god. When the Primordial 
Devil had ensnared Primordial Man in the battle, Mani further teaches, the five parts of the 
Light were mingled with the five parts of the Darkness." 

Let us see if we can get at the meaning of this great cosmological poem as far as we have 
gone. The thing to be accounted for is the mixture of good and evil. The complete separation 
of the eternally existent Kingdoms of Light and Darkness has been posited. How now are 
we to account for the mixture of light and darkness, of good and evil, in the present order 
of things? Mani would account for it by supposing that a conflict had occurred between an 
insufficiently equipped representative of the King of Light and the fully equipped ruler of 
the Kingdom of Darkness. His view of the vastly superior power of the King of Light would 
not allow him to suppose that the King of Light fully equipped had personally contended 
with the King of Darkness, and suffered the loss and contamination of his elements. Yet he 
only clumsily obviates this difficulty; for Primordial Man is produced and equipped by the 
King of Light for the very purpose of combating the King of Darkness, and Mani saves the 
King of Light from personal contamination only by impugning his judgment. 

We have now reached the point where, as a result of the conflict, good and evil are 
blended. We must beware of supposing that Mani meant to ascribe any kind of materiality 
to the members of the Kingdom of Light. The Kingdom of Light, on the contrary, he regarded 
as purely spiritual; the Kingdom of Darkness as material. We have now the conditions for 
the creation of the present order of things, including man. How does Mani picture the 
process and the results of this mixing of the elements? 

"The smoke (or vapor) was mingled with the gentle breeze (zephyr), and the present 
atmosphere resulted. So that whatever of agreeableness and power to quicken the soul and 
animal life is found in it [resultant air] , is from the zephyr, and whatever of destructiveness 
and noisomeness is found in it, proceeds from the smoke. The burning was mingled with 
the fire; therefore whatever of conflagration, destruction and ruin is found, is from the 
burning, but whatever of brightness and illumination is in it [the resultant fire], springs 
from the fire. The light mingled itself with the darkness; therefore in dense bodies as gold, 
silver and the like, whatever of brightness, beauty, purity and other useful qualities occurs, 
is from the light, and whatever of tarnish, impurity, density and hardness occurs, springs 
from the darkness. The hot wind was mingled with the wind; whatever now is useful and 
agreeable in this [resultant wind] springs from the wind, and whatever of uneasiness, hurt- 
fulness and deleterious property is found in it [resultant wind] is from the hot wind. Finally, 
the mist was mingled with the water, so that what is found in this [resultant water] of 
clearness, sweetness, and soul-satisfying property, is from the water; whatever, on the con- 
trary, of overwhelming, suffocating, and destroying power, of heaviness, and corruption, is 
found in it, springs from the mist." 


20 



The Manichcean System. 


But we must from this point abbreviate the somewhat prolix account. Primordial Man, 
after the blending of the elements, ascended on high accompanied by "one of the angels of 
this intermingling;" in other words, snatching away a part of the imprisoned elements of 
the Kingdom of Light. 

The next step is the creation of the present world, which Mani ascribes to the King of 
the World of Light, the object being to provide for the escape of the imprisoned elements 
of Light. Through an angel he constructed ten heavens and eight earths, an angel being 
appointed to hold heavens and earths in their places. A description of the stairways, doors, 
and halls of the heavens is given in the Fihrist’s narrative. The stairways lead to the "height 
of heaven." The air was used as a medium for connecting heaven and earth. A pit was 
formed to be the receptacle of darkness from which the light should be liberated. The sun 
and the moon were created to be the receptacles of the light that should be liberated from 
the darkness, the sun for light that has been mingled with "hot devils," the moon for that 
which had been mingled with "cold devils." The moon is represented as collecting light 
during the first half-month, and during the second pouring it into the sun. When the sun 
and moon have liberated all the light they are able, there will be a fire kindled on the earth 
which will burn for 1468 years, when there will be no light left. The King of Darkness and 
his hosts will thereupon withdraw into the pit prepared for them. 

(3.) Anthropology. So much for the liberation of the imprisoned light, which, according 
to Mani, was the sole object of creation. As yet we have heard nothing of the creation of 
living creatures. What place do man, the lower animals, and plants sustain in the Manichaean 
economy? We are to keep constantly in mind that Primordial Man was not Adam, but a 
divine aeon, and that he ascended into the heights immediately after the blending of parts 
of his armor with darkness. The creation of earthly man was an altogether different affair. 
We must give the account of man’s creation in Mani’s own words, as preserved by the 
Fihrist: "Hereupon one of those Arch-fiends and [one] of the Stars, and Overmastering 
Violence, Avarice, Lust, and Sin, copulated, and from their copulation sprang the first man, 
who is Adam, two Arch-fiends, a male and a female, directing the process. A second copu- 
lation followed and from this sprang the beautiful woman who is Eve." 

Man, therefore, unlike the world, is the creature of demons, the aim of the demons being 
to imprison in man, through the propagation of the race, as much as possible of the light, 
and so to hinder the separating process by the sun and the moon. Avarice is represented 
as having secretly seized some of the divine light and imprisoned it in man. The part played 
by the Star in the production of man is somewhat obscure in the narrative, yet the Star could 
hardly have been regarded as wholly evil. Probably the Star was thought of as a detached 
portion of the light that had not entered into the sun or the moon. "When, therefore, the 
five Angels saw what had taken place, they besought the Messenger of Joyful Knowledge, 
the Mother of Life, Primordial Man and the Spirit of Life, to send some one to liberate and 


21 



The Manichcean System. 


save man, to reveal to him knowledge and righteousness, and to free him from the power 
of the devils. They sent, accordingly, Jesus, whom a god accompanied. These seized the 
two Arch-fiends, imprisoned them and freed the two creatures (Adam and Eve.)" 

Jesus warned Adam of Eve’s violent importunity, and Adam obeyed his injunction not 
to go near her. One of the Arch-fiends, however, begat with her a son named Cain, who in 
turn begat Abel of his mother, and afterwards two maidens Worldly wise and Daughter-of- 
Avarice. Cain took the first to wife and gave the other to Abel. An angel having begotten 
of Worldly-wise two beautiful daughters (Raufarjad and Barfarjad), Abel accused Cain of 
the act. Cain enraged by the false accusation slew Abel and took Worldly-wise to wife. So 
far Adam had kept himself pure, but Eve was instructed by a demon in the art of enchanting, 
and she was enabled to excite his lust and to entrap him. By Adam she bore a beautiful son, 
whom the demon urged Eve to destroy. Adam stole the child away and brought it up on 
cow’s milk and fruit. This son was named Seth ( Schatil ). Adam once more yielded to Eve’s 
fascinations, but through Seth’s exhortations was induced to flee "eastward to the light and 
the wisdom of God." Adam, Seth, Raufarjad, Barfarjad, and Worldly-wise died and went 
to Paradise; while Eve, Cain, and Daughter-of- Avarice went into Hell. This fantastic perver- 
sion of the Biblical narrative of the creation and fall of man has many parallels in Rabbinic 
literature, and doubtless Mani first became acquainted with the narrative in a corrupted 
form. The teaching, however, of this mythologizing evidently is that the indulgence of the 
flesh and the begetting of children furnish the chief obstacle to the separation of light from 
darkness. Adam is represented as striving to escape from the allurements of Eve, but Eve 
is aided by demonic craft in overcoming him. Yet Adam does not become enslaved to lust, 
and so at last is saved. Eve, lustful from the beginning, is lost along with those of like dispos- 
ition. 

(4.) Soteriology. Such was, apparently, Mani’s conception of the creation of man, and 
of the attempts to liberate the light that was in him. What were his practical teachings to 
men of his time as to the means of escape from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom 
of Light? What view did Mani take of the historical Jesus? The Jesus who warned Adam 
against the seductions of Eve was evidently not the J esus of the New T estament. According 
to the narrative of the Fihrist, Mani "maintained that Jesus is a devil." Such a statement occurs 
nowhere else, so far as we are aware, in the literature of Manichaeism. The sources, however, 
are unanimous in ascribing to Mani a completely docetical view of the person of Christ. In 
using this blasphemous language, he probably referred to the representations of Jesus as 
God manifest in the flesh, which he regarded as Jewish and abominable. The New Testament 
narratives Mani [or at least his followers] regarded as interpolated in the interest of Judaism. 
Later Manichaeans, under the influence of Marcionism (and orthodoxy) gave to Jesus a far 
more prominent place in the economy of man’s salvation than did Mani himself. 


22 



The Manichcean System. 


How then is man to be saved according to Mani? It is by rigorous asceticism, and by 
the practice of certain ceremonial observances. Mani does not rise above the plane of ordin- 
ary heathenism in his plan of salvation. "It is incumbent upon him who will enter into the 
religion that he prove himself, and that if he sees that he is able to subdue lust and avarice, 
to leave off the eating of all kinds of flesh, the drinking of wine, and connubial intercourse, 
and to withhold himself from what is injurious in water, fire, magic and hypocrisy, he may 
enter into the religion; but if not let him abstain from entering. But if he loves religion, yet 
is not able to repress sensuality and avarice, yet he may make himself serviceable for the 
maintenance of religion and of the Truthful [i.e. the ‘Elect’] , and may meet (offset) his corrupt 
deeds through the use of opportunities where he wholly gives himself up to activity, right- 
eousness, zealous watchfulness, prayer and pious humiliation; for this suffices him in this 
transitory world and in the future eternal world, and his form in the last day will be the 
second form, of which, God willing, we shall treat further below." 

The doctrine of indulgences of which the germs appeared in the Catholic church even 
before the time of Mani, is here seen fully developed. What the Greek and Latin sources 
call the Elect or Perfect and the Hearers, are undoubtedly indicated here by those who are 
able to devote themselves to rigidly ascetical living, and those who, without such qualifica- 
tions, are willing to exert themselves fully on behalf of the cause. These latter evidently be- 
come partakers of the merits of those who carry out the ascetical regulations. That this is 
primitive Manichaean doctrine is abundantly proved by the general agreement of ancient 
writers of all classes. It is noteworthy that nothing Christian appears among the conditions 
of Manichaean discipleship. It is not faith in Christ, but the ability to follow a particular 
kind of outward life that confers standing in the Manichaean society. 

(5.) Cultus. Let us next look at the precepts of Mani to the initiated: "Mani imposed 
upon his disciples commandments, namely, ten commandments, and to these are attached 
three seals, and fasts of seven days in each month. The commandments are: Laith in the 
four most glorious essences: God, his Light, his Power, and his Wisdom. But God, whose 
name is glorious, is the King of the Paradise of Light; his Light is the sun and the moon, his 
Power the five angels: Gentle Breeze, Wind, Light, Water and Lire; and his Wisdom the 
Sacred Religion. This embraces five ideas: that of teachers, the sons of Meekness; that of 
those enlightened by the Sun, sons of Knowledge; that of the presbyters, sons of Reason; 
that of the Truthful, sons of Mystery; that of Hearers, sons of Insight. The ten command- 
ments are: Abandoning of prayer to idols, of lies, avarice, murder, adultery, theft, of the 
teaching of jugglery and magic, of duplicity of mind, which betrays doubt on religion, of 
drowsiness and inertness in business; and the commandment of four or seven prayers. In 
prayer one is to stand upright, rub himself with flowing water or with something else, and 
turn while standing to the great light (the Sun), then prostrate himself and in this position 
pray: Blessed be our Leader, the Paraclete, the Ambassador of the Light, blessed be his angels, 


23 



The Manichcean System. 


the Guardians, and highly praised be his resplendent hosts.. . . In the second prostration let 
him say: Thou highly praised, O thou enlightening one, Mani, our Leader, thou root of 
enlightenment, stem of honorableness, thou great tree who art altogether the means of sal- 
vation. In the third prostration let him say: I fall down and praise with pure heart and up- 
right tongue the great God, the Father of Light, and their element, highly praised, Blessed 
One, thou and thy whole glory and thy blessed world, which thou hast called into being. 
For he praises thee who praises thy Host, thy Righteous Ones, thy Word, thy Glory, and thy 
Good Pleasure, because thou art the God who is wholly truth, life and righteousness. In the 
fourth prostration let him say: I praise and fall down before all the gods, all the enlightening 
angels, before all Light and all Hosts, who are from the great God. In the fifth prostration 
let him say: I fall down and praise the great Host and the enlightening Gods, who with their 
wisdom assail the Darkness, drive it out and triumph over it. In the sixth prostration let 
him say: I fall down and praise the Father of Glory, the Exalted One, the Enlightening One, 
who has come forth from the two sciences (see note in Fliigel p. 3 10), and so on to the twelfth 
prostration. * * The first prayer is accomplished at mid-day, the second between this hour 
and sunset; then follows the prayer at eventide, after sunset, and hereupon the prayer in the 
first quarter of the night, three hours after sunset. 

"As regards fasting, when the sun is in Sagittarius, and the moon has its full light, fasting 
is to take place for two days without interruption, also when the new moon begins to appear; 
likewise when the moon first becomes visible again after the sun has entered into the sign 
of Capricorn; then when the new moon begins to appear, the sun stands in Aquarius and 
from the moon eight days have flowed, a fast of thirty days occurs, broken, however, daily 
at sunset. The common Manichaeans celebrate Sunday, the consecrated ones (the ‘Elect’) 
Monday." 

Here we have a somewhat detailed account of the cultus of the early Manichaeans. The 
forms of invocation do not differ materially from those of the Zoroastrians, of the early In- 
dians, of the Babylonians, and of the Egyptians. There is not the slightest evidence of 
Christian influence. The times of worship and of fasting are determined by the sun and the 
moon, and practically these are the principal objects of worship. It is certain that Mani 
himself was regarded by his followers as the most perfect revealer of God that had ever ap- 
peared among men, and, according to this account, he taught his followers to worship him. 
We cannot fail to see in this Manichaean cult the old Oriental pantheism modified by a du- 
alism, of which the most fully developed form was the Persian, but which, as we have seen, 
was by no means confined to Zoroastrianism. 

(6.) Eschatology. We must conclude our exposition of the doctrines of the Manichaeans 
by quoting from the Fihrist Mani’s teachings on eschatology. 

"When death approaches a Truthful One (‘Elect’), teaches Mani, Primordial Man sends 
a Light- God in the form of a guiding Wise One, and with him three gods, and along with 


24 



The Manichcean System. 


these the water-vessel, clothing, head-gear, crown, and garland of light. With them comes 
the maiden, like the soul of this Truthful One. There appears to him also the devil of avarice 
and lust, along with other devils. As soon as the Truthful Man sees these he calls the goddess 
who has assumed the form of the Wise One and the three other gods to his help, and they 
draw near him. As soon as the devils are aware of their presence they turn and flee. The 
former, however, take this Truthful One, clothe him with the crown, the garland and the 
robe, put the water-vessel in his hand and mount with him upon the pillars of promise to 
the sphere of the moon, to Primordial Man, and to Nahnaha, the Mother of the Living, to 
the position in which he was at first in the Paradise of Light. But his body remains lying as 
before in order that the sun, the moon, and the gods of Light may withdraw from it the 
powers, i.e., the water, the fire and the gentle breeze, and he rises to the sun and becomes a 
god. But the rest of his body, which is wholly darkness, is cast into hell." 

In the case of Manichaeans of the lower order, described above, the same divine person- 
ages appear at his summons. "They free him also from devils, but he ceases not to be like a 
man in the world, who in his dreams sees frightful forms and sinks into filth and mire. In 
this condition he remains, until his light and his spirit are liberated and he has attained to 
the place of union with the Truthful, and after a long period of wandering to and fro puts 
on their garments." 

To the sinful man, on the other hand, the divine personages appear, not to free him 
from the devils that are tormenting him, but rather to "overwhelm him with reproaches, to 
remind him of his deeds, and strikingly to convince him that he has renounced help for 
himself, from the side of the Truthful. Then wanders he round about in the world, unceas- 
ingly chased by torments, until this order of things ceases, and along with the world he is 
cast into hell." 

There is nothing original about the eschatology of Mani, and scarcely anything Christian. 
We see in it a fully developed doctrine of purgatory, somewhat like the Platonic, and still 
more like that of the later Catholic church. Salvation consists simply in the liberation of 
the light from the darkness. In the case of the Elect this takes place immediately after death; 
in the case of adherents who have not practiced the prescribed forms of asceticism, it takes 
place only after considerable torment. In the case of the ordinary sensual man, there is no 
deliverance. Doubtless Mani would have held that in his case, too, whatever particles of 
light may have been involved in his animal structure are liberated from the dead body. 

(7.) Ethics. As regards ceremonies we find little that enlightens us in the Fihrist’s ac- 
count. Water (that is, water apart from the deleterious elements that have become blended 
with it) was regarded by Mani as one of the divine elements. The ablutions in running water 
mentioned above in connection with the prayers may have sustained some relation to bap- 
tism, but can hardly be ascribed to Christian influence. The connection of the Manichaeans 
with the Mandaeans, who made much of ceremonial bathing, will be considered below. It 


25 



The Manichcean System. 


is certain that Mani’s father was connected with a baptizing party, viz., the Mugtasilah. 
According to the Fihrist Mani was the author of an Epistle on Baptism. The question 
whether Mani and his followers practised water-baptism or not is by no means an easy one 
to solve. The passage cited by Giesseler from Augustin to prove that the "Elect" were initiated 
by baptism is inconclusive. Augustin acknowledges that God and the Manichaeans themselves 
alone know what takes place in the secret meetings of the "Elect." Whatever ceremonies 
they performed, whether baptism or the Lord’s supper, or some other, were matters of 
profound secrecy, and so we need not wonder at the lack of definite information. From a 
passage quoted by Augustin in his report of a discussion with Felix the Manichaean, we 
should certainly infer that both ordinances were practised in some form by the Manichaeans 
of the West. But Augustin himself says that Manichaeans deny the saving efficacy of baptism, 
maintain that it is superfluous, do not require it of those whom they win to their views, etc. 
It is certain, therefore, that if they practised baptism and the Lord’s supper at all, they attached 
to it a meaning radically different from that of Augustin. It is possible that a ceremonial 
anointing with oil took the place of baptism. (Baur, p. 277 sq.). Augustin mentions a dis- 
gusting ceremony in which human semen was partaken of by the Elect in order to deliver 
the imprisoned light contained therein ( De Haeres. 46), and he calls this ceremony a sort 
of Eucharist. But his confessed ignorance of the doings of the "Elect" discredits in some 
measure this accusation. 

The Fihrist gives us no definite information about the three signacula. The seals (not 
signs) of the mouth, the hand (or hands), and of the bosom. In these are contained symbol- 
ically the Manichaean moral system. In the book Sadder (Hyde, p. 492) we read: "It is taught 
[by the Manichaeans] to abstain from every sin, to eliminate every sin from hand, and tongue 
and thought." Augustin explains the signacula more fully and represents the Manichaeans 
as attaching great importance to them: "When I name the mouth, I mean all the senses that 
are in the head; when I name the hand I mean every operation; when I name the bosom I 
mean every seminal lust." 

It is confidently believed that the foregoing account of the Manichaean system, based 
upon the Arabic narratives preserved by the Fihrist, supplemented by the principal Eastern 
and Western sources, contains the essential facts with reference to this strange system of 
religious thought. Our next task will to be to ascertain, as precisely as possible, the relations 
that Manichaeism sustained to the various religious systems with which it has commonly 
been associated. 


26 



Relation of Manichceism to Zoroastrianism. 


Chapter IV. — Relation of Manichseism to Zoroastrianism. 

The very close connection of these two systems has commonly been presupposed, and 
is undeniable. In fact Manichaeism has frequently been represented as Zoroastrian dualism, 
slightly modified by contact with Christianity and other systems. No one could possibly 
gain even a superficial view of the two systems without being strongly impressed with their 
points of resemblance. A closer examination, however, will reveal points of antagonism 
just as striking, and will enable us to account for the fact that Mani was put to death by a 
zealous Zoroastrian ruler on account of his recognized hostility to the state religion. The 
leading features of the Manichaean system are already before us. Instead of quoting at length 
from the Zend-Avesta, which is now happily accessible in an excellent English translation, 
we may for the sake of brevity quote Tiele’s description of Zoroastrian dualism as a basis of 

o 

comparison: 

"Parsism is decidedly dualistic, not in the sense of accepting two hostile deities, for it 
recognizes no worship of evil beings, and teaches the adoration only of Ahura Mazda and 
the spirits subject to him; but in the sense of placing in hostility to each other two sharply 
divided kingdoms, that of light, of truth, and of purity, and that of darkness, of falsehood, 
and of impurity. This division is carried through the whole creation, organic and inorganic, 
material and spiritual. Above, in the highest sphere, is the domain of the undisputed sover- 
eignty of the All-wise God; beneath, in the lowest abyss, the kingdom of his mighty adversary; 
midway between the two lies this world, the theatre of the contest. . . . This dualism further 
dominates the cosmogony, the cultus, and the entire view of the moral order of the world 
held by the Mazda worshippers. Not only does Anro-Mainyus (Ahriman) spoil by his 
counter-creations all the good creations of Ahura-Mazda (Ormuzd), but by slaying the 
protoplasts of man and beast, he brings death into the world, seduces the first pair to sin, 
and also brings forth noxious animals and plants. Man finds himself, in consequence, sur- 
rounded on all sides by the works of the spirits of darkness and by his hosts. It is the object 
of worship to secure the pious against their influence." 

Let us bring in review some of the points of resemblance between the two systems. Both 
are in a sense dualistic. In both the kingdoms of Light and Darkness are set over against 
each other in the sharpest antagonism. In both we have similar emanations from these 
kingdoms (or kings). Yet, while in the Manichaean system the dualism is absolute and 
eternal, in the later Zoroastrian system (as in the Jewish and Christian doctrine of Satan), 


8 Outlines of the Hist, of Religion (1877), p. 173. Cf. J. Darmsteter, Introduction to the Zend-Avesta, p. xliii., 
xliv., lvi., lxxii., lxxiv. sq.; and his article in the Contemporary Review (Oct. 1879), on "The Supreme God in the 
Indo-European Mythology. " 


27 



Relation of Manichceism to Zoroastrianism. 


Ahriman (Satan) if not merely a fallen creature 9 of Ormuzd (the good and supreme God) 
was at least an immeasurably inferior being. The supreme control of the universe, to which 
it owes its perfect order, was ascribed by Zoroastrianism to Ormuzd. The struggle between 
good and evil, beneficent and malevolent, was due to the opposition of the mighty, but not 
almighty, Ahriman. Whatever form of Mazdeism (Zoroastrianism) we take for purposes 
of comparison, we are safe in saying that the Manichaean dualism was by far the more abso- 
lute. 

In both systems each side of the dualism is represented by a series (or rather several 
series) of personified principles. These agree in the two systems in some particulars. Yet 
the variations are quite as noticeable as the agreements. There is much in common between 
the Manichaean and the Zoroastrian delineations of the fearful conflict between the Kingdom 
of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness, yet the beginning of the conflict is quite differently 
conceived of in the two systems. In Manichaeism the creation is accounted for by the conflict 
in which Primordial Man was beaten by the powers of Darkness and suffered the mixing of 
his elements with the elements of darkness. The actual world was made by the good God, 
or rather by his subordinates, as a means of liberating the imprisoned light. The creation of 
man is ascribed, on the other hand, to the King of Darkness (or his subordinates), with a 
view to hindering the escape of the mingled light by diffusion thereof through propagation. 
Mazdeism derives the creation solely from Ormuzd, from whose hand it issued "as pure and 
perfect as himself’ (Lenormant, Anc. Hist. II. p. 30). It was the work of Ahriman to "spoil 
it by his evil influence." The appellation "Maker of the material world" is constantly applied 
to Ormuzd in the Vendidad and other sacred books. The most instructive Mazdean account 
of the creation that has come down to us is that contained in the Vendidad, Fargard I. Ahura 
Mazda (Ormuzd) is represented here as naming one by one the sixteen good lands that he 
had created. Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) is represented as coming to each, one by one, and 
creating in it noxious things. Examples of these counter-creations are, the serpents, winter, 
venomous flies, sinful lusts, mosquitoes, pride, unnatural sin, burying the dead, witchcraft, 
the sin of unbelief, the burning of corpses, abnormal issues in women, oppression of foreign 


9 This is confidently asserted by Kessler (Art. Mani in Herzog’s RE, 2d ed. vol. IX. p. 258), and after him by 
Harnack, Encyclopcedia Britannica, art. Manichaeism. On the other hand, Lenormant [Anc. Hist. II. p. 30), says: 
"Ahriman had been eternal in the past, he had no beginning, and proceeded from no former being * * * . This 
being who had no beginning would come to an end. * * * . Evil then should be finally conquered and destroyed, 
the creation should become as pure as on its first day, and Ahriman should disappear forever." Such, doubtless, 
was the original doctrine, but the form probably in vogue in the time of Mani was more pantheistic or monothe- 
istic, both Ormuzd and Ahriman proceeding from boundless time ( Zrvan akarana). See on this matter, 
Darmsteter: Introd. to the Zend-Avesta, p. lxxii, etc., and his art. in Contemp. Review; and Lenormant: Anc. 
Hist, as above. 


28 



Relation of Manichceism to Zoroastrianism. 


rulers, excessive heat, etc. This jumble of physical evils and sins is characteristic of Mazdeism. 

According to Mani matter is inherently evil, and it only ceases to be absolutely evil by 
the mixture with it of the elements of the Kingdom of Light. Creation is a process forced 
upon the King of Light by the ravages of the King of Darkness, and is at best only partially 
good. Zoroastrianism looked upon earth, fire, water, as sacred elements, to defile which 
was sin of the most heinous kind. Manichaeism regarded actual fire and water as made up 
of a mixture of elements of light and darkness, and so, as by no means wholly pure. 
Manichaeans regarded earth, so far as it consisted of dead matter, with the utmost contempt. 
The life-giving light in it was alone thought of with respect. Zoroastrianism somewhat ar- 
bitrarily divided animals and plants between the kingdoms of Ormuzd and Ahriman; but 
the idea that all material things, so far as they are material, are evil, seems never to have oc- 
curred to the early Mazdeists. Manichaeans agreed with Mazdeists in their veneration for 
the sun, but the principles underlying this veneration seem to have been widely different in 
the two cases. The most radical opposition of the two systems is seen in their views of human 
propagation. Mani regarded the procreation of children as ministering directly to the designs 
of the King of Darkness to imprison the light, and so absolutely condemned it. The Zend- 
Avesta says: ( Vendiddd , Fargard IV.): "Verily I say unto thee, O Spitama Zarathustra; the 
man who has a wife is far above him who begets no sons; he who keeps a house is far above 
him who has none; he who has children is far above a childless man." Mani made great 
merit of voluntary poverty. The Zend-Avesta (ibid.) says: "He who has riches is far above 
him who has none." Mani forbade the use of animal food as preventing the escape of the 
light contained in the bodies of animals. The Zend-Avesta (ibid.): "And of two men, he 
who fills himself with meat is filled with the good spirit much more than he who does not 
do so; the latter is all but dead; the former is above him by the worth of an Asperena, by the 
worth of a sheep, by the worth of an ox, by the worth of a man ." 10 

The eschatology of the two systems might be shown to present just as striking contrasts, 
and just as marked resemblances. In both systems the consummation of the age is effected 
by means of a conflagration, the aim of the conflagration in Mazdeism being the punishment 
and the purging of wicked men, the destruction of wicked spirits, the renovation of the 
earth, and the inauguration of the sole sovereignty of Ormuzd, while in Manichaeism the 
aim of the conflagration is to liberate the portions of light which the processes of animal 
and vegetable growth, with the aid of sun and the moon have proved unable to liberate. 

But enough has been said to make it evident that Manichaeism was by no means a slightly 
altered edition of Zoroastrianism. The points of similarity between the two are certainly 
more apparent than real, though the historical relationship can by no means be denied. 



10 That meat is used in the sense of flesh may be inferred from Darmsteter’s comment on this passage, which 
he suggests may be a bit of religious polemics against Manichaeism. See his Introd. to the Zend-Avesta, p. xl. sq. 

29 



The Relation of Manichceism to the Old Babylonian Religion as Seen in Mandceism... 


Chapter V. — The Relation of Manichseism to the Old Babylonian 
Religion as Seen in Mandseism and Sabeanism. 

It would have been strange indeed if the old Babylonian religion, after dominating the 
minds of the inhabitants of Mesopotamia for so many centuries, had given place completely 
to the religion of the Medo- Persian conquerors of the country. Magism itself was a mixture 
of old Babylonian, Medic and Persian elements. But there is much reason for believing that 
the primitive Babylonian faith, in a more or less pure form, persisted until long after the 
time of Mani, nay, that it has maintained its ground even till the present day. The researches 
of Chwolson, Noldeke, Kessler and others, in the literature and history of the Mandaeans 
and the Sabeans, combined in the last case at least with accurate knowledge of old Babylo- 
nian literature and religion, have rendered it highly probable that representatives of the old 
Babylonian faith were numerous in Mesopotomia and the adjoining regions at the time of 
Mani, and that Mani himself was more or less closely connected with it. The Mandaeans 
were a Gnostic sect of the Ophitic type, without Christian elements. It is the opinion of 
Kessler, who has devoted much attention to this sect and to the relations of occult religious 
matters in general in Mesopotomia, that "the source of all Gnosis, and especially the imme- 
diate source of Ophitic Gnosis, is not the doctrine of the Persian Zoroaster, not Phoenicean 
heathenism, not the theory and practise of Greek mysteries, but the old Babylonian- 
Chaldaic national religion, which maintained itself in Mesopotomia and Babylonia, the 
abode of the Ophites, Perates, Mandaeans, until the post- Christian centuries, and was now 
opposed by the Gentiles in a mystical-ascetical form to Christianity." The close connection 
of the Mandaeans with the Ophites, and of both with the old Babylonian religion, would 
seem to be established beyond question. The relation of Manichaeism to Mandaeism has 
been by no means so clearly shown. Let us look at some of the supposed points of contact. 
Mani’s connection with the Mugtasilah sect (or Baptizers) has already been mentioned. 
Kessler seeks to identify this party with the Mandaeans, or at least to establish a community 
of origin and of fundamental principles in the two parties. He would connect with the old 
Babylonian sect, of which ceremonial baptism seems to have been a common characteristic, 
the Palestinian Hemero-baptists, Elkesaites, Nazareans, Ebionites, etc. There is nothing 
improbable about this supposition. Certainly we find elements in Palestinian heresy during 
the early Christian centuries, which we can hardly suppose to have been indigenous. And 
there is no more likely source of occult religious influence than Babylonia, unless it be Egypt, 
and there is much reason for supposing that even in Alexandria Babylonian influences were 
active before and after the beginning of the Christian era. Besides, a large number of Gnostic 
elements different from these can be traced to Egypt. How far the Mandaeans of modern 
times, and as they are described in extant literature, correspond with representatives of the 
old Babylonian religion in the third century, cannot be determined with complete certainty. 


30 



The Relation of Manichceism to the Old Babylonian Religion as Seen in Mandceism... 


Yet there is much about this party that has a primitive appearance, and the tenacity with 
which it has held aloof from Judaism, Manichseism, Mohammedanism, and Oriental 
Christianity, during centuries of conflict and oppression, says much for its conservatism. 
It would extend this chapter unduly to describe the elaborate cosmogony, mythology, hier- 
archy, ceremonial, etc., of this interesting party. For the illustration of Christian Gnosticism 
the facts that have been brought out are of the utmost value. As compared with Manichaeism, 
there is a remarkable parallelism between the two kingdoms and their subordinates or aeons; 
the conflict between Primordial Man and the King of Darkness has its counterpart in 
Mandaeism. The close connection of the Mandaean and the Manichaean cosmogony, together 
with similar views about water in the two parties, would make it highly probable that the 
Manichaeans, like the Mandaeans, practised some kind of ceremonial ablutions. 

What, now, are the grounds on which the connection of these systems with the old 
Babylonian religion is based? The dualistic element in the old Babylonian system was 
pointed out above. Kessler seeks to establish an almost complete parallelism between the 
Mandaean and Manichaean cosmological and mythological systems on the one hand, and 
the old Babylonian on the other. That there are points of striking resemblance it is certain. 
There is ground to suspect, however, that he has been led by partiality for a theory of his 
own to minimize unduly the Zoroastrian and Buddhist influence and to magnify unduly 
the old Babylonian. Be that as it may, there remains an important residuum of solid fact 
which must be taken account of by all future students of Manichaeism. There is reason to 
hope that future work along the lines of Kessler’s researches will bring to light much addi- 
tional material. 


31 



The Relation of Manichceism to Buddhism. 


Chapter VI. — The Relation of Manichaeism to Buddhism. 

The extent of Mani’s dependence on Buddhism is a matter that has been much disputed. 
The attention of scholars was first directed to this possible source of Manichaeism by the 
discovery of important features that are radically opposed to Zoroastrianism, Judaism and 
Christianity, and by the traditional historical connection of Mani with India and T urkestan. 
The antagonism of spirit and matter, of light and darkness, the mixture of spirit and light 
with matter and darkness in the formation of the world, the final catastrophe in which 
complete simplicity shall be re-established, only inert matter and darkness remaining to 
represent the Kingdom of Darkness, abstinence from bloody sacrifices, from marriage, from 
killing or eating animals — points in which Manichaeism differs widely from the other systems 
with which it stands historically related — find their counterpart in Buddhism. It is certain, 
moreover, that they were fully developed in Buddhism centuries before the time of Mani. 
Baur, 1 1 though not the first to suggest a connection of the two systems, was the first to show 
by a somewhat detailed comparison the close parallelism that exists between Manichaeism 

1 9 

and Buddhism. Baur’s reasonings were still further elaborated and confirmed by Neander. 
External grounds in favor of Mani’s dependence on Buddhism are the traditions of Mani’s 
journey to India and China, and of his prolonged stay in Turkestan, where Buddhism 
flourished at that time. But it is on internal grounds that we chiefly rely. 

If space permitted we could illustrate the close parallelism that undoubtedly exists 
between Manichaeism and Buddhism, from Buddhist documents which have been made 
accessible through Professor Max Muller and his collaborators in The Sacred Book of the 
East, far more completely than was possible to Baur and Neander. It is certain that parallels 
can be found in Buddhism for almost every feature of Manichaeism that is sharply antagon- 
istic to Zoroastrianism. The Buddhist view of matter as antagonistic to spirit is fundamental. 
It is the world of matter that deludes. It is the body and its passions that prevent the longed- 
for Nirvana. Buddhist asceticism is the direct outgrowth of the doctrine of the evil and de- 
lusive nature of matter. The Buddhist doctrine of metempsychosis has its precise counterpart 
in Manichaeism, but it should be said that this doctrine was widely diffused in the West, 
through Pythagoreanism, before the time of Mani. The Buddhist tenderness for animal and 
plant life is paralleled by the Manichaean. But there is considerable difference between the 
views on which this tenderness is based. The Buddhist feeling was based, in part at least, 
upon the doctrine of metempsychosis, animals and plants being regarded as the abodes of 
human spirits awaiting their release into Nirvana. The Manichaean looked upon the elements 
of light (life) contained in animals and plants as particles of God, and any injury done to 
them as a hindrance to the escape of these elements, to be conveyed away into the Kingdom 


1 1 Das Manichdische Religionssystem, p. 433 sq. 

12 Church Hist. vol. I. 


32 



The Relation of Manichceism to Buddhism. 


of Light. Both looked upon sexual intercourse as among the greatest of evils, though the 
theory in the two cases was slightly different. So of the drinking of wine, the eating of animal 
food, etc. The final state was conceived of in substantially the same way in the two systems. 
Nirvana, the blowing out of man’s life as an individual entity, is quite paralleled by the 
Manichaean view of the gradual escape of the imprisoned particles of light into the Kingdom 
of Light. In both cases the divine pleroma is to be restored in such a way as to destroy indi- 
vidual consciousness. 

The Buddhist Bhikkhus (or ascetical monks) correspond very closely with the Manichaean 
Truthful Ones (Elect), and the relations of these to ordinary adherents of the parties was 
much the same in the two cases. Both systems (like Christianity) had the proselyting spirit 
fully developed. The position of Mani as a preacher or prophet corresponds with the 
Buddhist idea of the manifestations of Buddha. The statement is attributed to Mani that 
"as Buddha came in the land of India, Zoroaster in the land of Persia, and Jesus in the land 
of the West, so at last in the epoch of the present this preaching came through me [Mani] 
in the land of Babylonia." In the interest of his theory, which makes the old Babylonian re- 
ligion the chief source of Manichaeism, Kessler has attempted to detract from the significance 
of the Buddhist influence. Yet he grants that the morality of the Manichaeans (including 
many of the features mentioned above) was Buddhist. The close connection of the two 
systems cannot, it would seem, be successfully gainsaid. 


13 Cunningham, St. Austin and his Place in the History of Christian Thought (1886), has these remarks on 
the relation of Mani to Buddhism: "Mani was indeed a religious reformer: deeply impregnated with the belief 
and practice which Buddhist monks were spreading in the East, he tried with some success to reform the religion 
of Zoroaster in Persia [i.e. the Persian Empire], his native land. While his fundamental doctrine, the root of his 
system, was of Persian origin, and he figured the universe to himself as if it were given over to the unending 
conflict between the Powers of Light and Darkness, in regard to discipline his system very closely resembles that 
founded by Buddha; the elect of the Manichaeans correspond to the Buddhist monks: the precepts about abstinence 
from meat and things of sense are, if not borrowed from the rules Gotama gave for the conduct of his followers, 
the outcome of the same principles about the nature of man." Harnack, art. Manichaeism in Ettcy. Britannica , 
follows Kessler in attaching slight importance to the Buddhist influence on Manichaeism, preferring, with him, 
to derive nearly all of the features ascribed by Baur, Neander and others to Buddhist influence, to the old Baby- 
lonian religion, the precise character of which, in the time of Mani, is imperfectly understood. Harnack’s (and 
Kessler’s) statements must therefore be taken with some allowance. There is no objection, however, to supposing 
that Mani derived from the old Babylonian party or parties with which he came in contact religious principles 
which were wrought out in detail under the influence of Buddhism. This is in fact what probably occurred. 

33 



The Relation of Manichceism to Judaism. 


Chapter VII. — The Relation of Manichseism to Judaism. 

So far as a relation existed it was one of the intensest hostility. Like the Gnostics in 
general, Manichaeism looked upon the God of the Old Testament as an evil, or at least im- 
perfect being. On this matter we do not learn so much from the Oriental as from the 
Western sources, but even from the former the radical antagonism is manifest. 

The statement in the Fihrist’s narrative, that "Mani treated all the prophets disparagingly 
in his books, degraded them, accused them of lying, and maintained that devils had possessed 
them and that these spoke out of their mouths; nay, he goes so far as expressly to assert in 
some passages of his books that the prophets were themselves devils," is precisely in the line 
of the later Manichsean polemics against the Judaistic element in Christianity. 

The Manichaean account of the creation shows some acquaintance with the Jewish 
Scriptures or with Jewish tradition, yet the complete perversion of the Biblical account is 
one of the clearest indications of hostility. It may be said in general that it is impossible to 
conceive of two systems of religion that have less in common, or more that is sharply antag- 
onistic. One of the principal points of controversy between Manichaeans and Christians 
was the defense of the Jewish Scriptures and religion by the latter. The Manichaean demanded 
the elimination from the current Christianity, and from the New Testament itself, of every 
vestige of Judaism. Their objections to the Old Testament Scriptures and religion were in 
general substantially the same as those made by other Gnostics, especially by the Marcionites. 
The Old Testament anthropomorphic representations seem to have been offensive to them, 
notwithstanding their own crude conceptions of the conflict between light and darkness, 
of the creation, etc. The relation of God to the conquest of Canaan is a point that those in- 
clined to cavil have never failed to make the most of. The Old Testament encouragement 
of race propagation, the narratives of polygamy as practised by those that enjoyed the favor 
of the God of the Old Testament, the seeming approval of prevarication in several well- 
known cases, the institution of animal sacrifices, the allowing of the use of animal food, 
were among the standard objections that they raised against Judaism and against Christians 
who accepted the Old Testament. Judaism had, since the captivity, had many representatives 
in Mesopotamia, and Mani was doubtless brought up to abominate the Jews. Some of his 
extreme positions may have been primarily due to his radical anti-Judaistic tendencies. We 
shall see hereafter how Augustin met the Manichaean objections to the Old Testament. 


34 



The Relation of Manichceism to Christianity. 


Chapter VIII. — The Relation of Manichaeism to Christianity. 

Far more superficial are the relations of Manichaeism to Christianity than to any of the 
heathen systems to which we have adverted. In fact no Christian idea has been introduced 
into the system without being completely perverted. If Christian language is used, it is utterly 
emptied of its meaning. If Christian practices are introduced, a completely different motive 
lies at the basis. Indeed the wildest of the Christian Gnostic systems kept immeasurably 
nearer to historical Christianity than did the Manichaeans. While he blasphemed against 
the historical Jesus, Mani claimed to believe in Christ, a purely spiritual and divine manifest- 
ation, whose teachings had been sadly perverted by the Jews. It is scarcely possible to de- 
termine with any certainty what view Mani actually took of New Testament history. That 
he claimed to be a follower of Christ, and the Paraclete whom Christ had promised to send, 
or at least the organ of the Paraclete, Eastern and Western authorities agree. Mani is said, 
by Augustin, to have begun his Fundamental Epistle as follows: "Manichaeus, an Apostle of 
Jesus Christ, by the providence of God the Father. These are wholesome words from the 
perennial and living fountain." So also in the Act. Archel, Mani is represented as introducing 
a letter: "Manichaeus, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and all the saints who are with me, and 
the virgins, to Marcellus, my beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace be with you from God 
the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ." There can be no doubt but that Mani and his 
followers, whether from designed imposture or from less sinister motives, attempted to 
palm themselves off as Christians, nay, as the only true Christians. It is certain, moreover, 
that in this guise they gained many proselytes from the Christian ranks. As previously re- 
marked, Mani and his followers professed to accept the New Testament Scriptures, yet they 
treated them in a purely subjective manner, eliminating as Judaistic interpolation whatever 
they could not reconcile with their own tenets. Their adherence to the New Testament, as 
well as their adherence to Christ, was, therefore, virtually a mere pretence. In common with 
Christianity, Manichaeism laid much stress on redemption, yet there was nothing in common 
between the Christian idea of redemption through the atoning suffering of Jesus Christ and 
the Manichaean notion of redemption through the escape of imprisoned light. Manichaeans 
and Christians were at one in advocating self-denial and the due subordination of the flesh. 
It need not be pointed out how radically different the Christian view was from the Manichaean 
view, already expounded. Yet pagan ascetical ideas had already invaded the Church long 
before the time of Mani, and many Christians were in a position to be attracted strongly by 
the Manichaean theory and practice. The later asceticism as it appeared in the hermit life 
of the fourth and following centuries was essentially pagan and had much in common with 
the Manichaean. Still more manifest is the anatagonism between Manichaeism and Chris- 
tianity on the great fundamental principles of religion. The Manichaean and Christian ideas 
of God are mutually contradictory. Christianity holds fast at the same time to the unity, 


35 



The Relation of Manichceism to Christianity. 


the omnipotence, the omniscience, the perfect wisdom, the holiness and the goodness of 
God. If He permits sin to exist in the world it is not because He looks upon it with compla- 
cency, nor because He lacked wisdom to provide against its rise or power to annihilate it at 
once when it appeared, nor because He did not foresee its rise and its ravages, but because 
the permission of sin forms part of His all-wise plan for the education of moral and spiritual 
beings. If the forces of nature are under certain circumstances hurtful or destructive to 
man, Christianity does not regard them as the operations of a malevolent power thwarting 
God’s purposes, but it sees underneath the destructive violence purposes of goodness and 
of grace; or if it fails to see them in any given instance it yet believes that God doeth all things 
well. Christianity admits the existence of evil in men and in demons, yet of evil that ministers 
to the purposes of the Most High. Christianity is the only religion that has been able to arrive 
at a perfectly satisfactory theology, cosmology, anthropology, and eschatology, and this is 
because Christianity alone has a true and satisfying soteriology. It is God manifest in the 
flesh that meets all the conditions for the solution of the problem of human existence. 
Manichaeism openly antagonized Christianity in its adherence to Old Testament revelation, 
including the Jewish and Christian monotheism. The good God could not, they maintained, 
be the creator of this world and of the universe of being. That God should be looked upon 
as in any sense the creator of the devil and his angels, and of the material world, was in their 
view an absurdity — a monstrosity. The unchristian character of the Manichaean view of 
matter, leading to unchristian asceticism, has already been sufficiently indicated. The 
reader will only need to compare the principles and practices of Manichaeism, as delineated 
above, with those of Christianity as they are delineated in the New Testament and in the 
evangelical churches of to-day, to be impressed with the completely anti-Christian character 
of the former. 

How then, it may well be asked, could Manichaeism succeed as it did in fascinating so 
many intelligent members of the Catholic Church during the third, fourth and fifth centuries? 
In attempting to answer this question it should be premised that the later Western 
Manichaeism took far more account of historical Christianity than did Mani and his imme- 
diate followers. In the West, at least, Manichaeism set itself up as the only genuine exponent 
of Christianity. The Jewish-Alexandrian philosophy, and Gnosticism its product, had done 
much towards discrediting the Old Testament Scriptures, and the moral and religious 
teachings therein contained. Devout Jewish and Christian thinkers who had adopted this 
mode of thought, had attempted by means of the allegorical method of interpretation to 
reconcile the seeming antagonism between Judaism and philosophy. But the process was 
so forced that its results could not be expected to satisfy those that felt no special interest in 
the removal of the difficulties. Marcionism represents a stern refusal to apply the allegory, 
and a determination to exhibit the antagonism between Judaism and current thought, and 
especially the seeming antagonism between Judaism and Christianity, in the harshest manner. 


36 



The Relation of Manichceism to Christianity. 


Marcionism was still vigorous in the East when Manichaeism arose, and through this party 
unfavorable views of the Old Testament were widely disseminated. Many Christians 
doubtless felt that the Old Testament and its religion were burdensome and trammelling 
to Christianity. The very fact that Mani set aside so summarily every element of Judaism 
that he encountered in the current Christianity, doubtless commended his views to a large 
and influential element in the East and the West alike. Mani claimed to set forth a spiritual 
religion as opposed to a carnal. The asceticism of Manichaeism was in the line of a wide- 
spread popular ascetical movement that was already in progress, and so commended it to 
many. The question as to the origin of evil, and as to the relation of the good, wise and 
powerful God to the evil that appears in the world, in man and in demons was never asked 
with more interest than during the early Christian centuries, and any party that should ad- 
vance a moderately plausible theory was sure to receive its share of public attention. Mani 
professed to have a solution and the only possible solution of questions of this class, and 
however fantastic may have been the forms in which his speculations were set forth, they 
were doubtless all the more acceptable on this account in that semi-pagan age to many in- 
telligent people. The fact that these forms satisfied so able a thinker as Mani undoubtedly 
was, would guarantee their acceptance by a large number both East and West. There was 
in the West at this time, and had been for centuries, a hankering after Oriental theosophy, 
the more extravagant the better. The wide-spread worship of Mithra was an excellent pre- 
paration for the more complete system of Mani. Manichaeism and Neo-Platonism antagon- 
ized the Christianity of the fourth and fifth centuries from opposite sides, and those minds 
for whom Platonism had no charms were almost sure to be attracted by the theosophy of 
Mani. "How are we to explain," asks Harnack , 14 "the rapid spread of Manichaeism, and the 
fact that it really became one of the great religions? Our answer is, that Manichaeism was 
the most complete Gnosis, the richest, most consequent and most artistic system formed 
on the basis of the ancient Babylonian religion.. . . What gave strength to Manichaeism was. . . 
that it united its ancient mythology and a thorough-going materialistic dualism with an 
exceedingly simple spiritual worship and a strict morality. On comparing it with the 
Semitic religions of nature, we perceive that it retained their mythologies, after transforming 
them into doctrines, but abolished all their sensuous cultus, substituting instead a spiritual 
worship as well as a strict morality. Manichaeism was thus able to satisfy the new wants of 
an old world. It offered revelation, redemption, moral virtue, and immortality [this last is 
very doubtful, if conscious immortality be meant] , spiritual benefits on the basis of the reli- 
gion of nature. A further source of strength lay in the simple, yet firm social organization 
which was given by Mani himself to his new institution. The wise man and the ignorant, 


14 Encyclopcedia Britannica , art. Manichceism. 


37 



The Relation of Manichceism to Christianity. 


the enthusiast and the man of the world, could all find acceptance here, and there was laid 
on no one more than he was able and willing to bear." 

The question as to the secret of the fascination that Manichaeism was able to exercise 
even over the most intelligent Western minds, may receive a more concrete answer from 
the autobiographical account of Augustin’s own relations to the party. What was it that 
attracted and enthralled, for nine years, him who was to become the greatest theologian of 
the age? In his Confessions (Book III. ch. 6) he gives this impassioned account of his first 
connection with Manichaeism: "Therefore I fell among men proudly railing, very carnal 
and voluble, in whose mouth were the snares of the devil — the bird lime being composed 
of a mixture of the syllables of Thy Name, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Paraclete, 
the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. These names departed not out of their mouths, but so far 
forth as the sound and clatter of the tongue; for the heart was empty of truth. Still they cried 
‘Truth, Truth,’ and spoke much about it to me, yet it was not in them, but they spake falsely 
not of Thee only — who, verily art the Truth — but also of the elements of this world, Thy 
creatures. . . O Truth, Truth! how inwardly even then did the marrow of my soul pant after 
Thee, when they frequently and in a multiplicity of ways, and in numerous and huge books, 
sounded out Thy Name to me, though it was but a voice. And these were the dishes in which 
to me, hungering for Thee, they, instead of Thee, served up the sun and the moon, Thy 
beauteous works — but yet Thy works, not Thyself, nay, nor Thy first works. . .Woe, woe, by 
what steps was I dragged down to the depths of hell! — toiling and turm oiling through want 
of Truth, when I sought after Thee, my God, — to Thee I confess it, who hadst mercy on me 
when I had not yet confessed, sought after Thee not according to the understanding of the 
mind in which Thou desiredst that I should excel the beasts, but according to the sense of 
the flesh." 


38 



Augustin and the Manichceans. 


Chapter IX. — Augustin and the Manichseans. 

In the preceding Chapter we have given in Augustin’s own words some account of the 
process by which he became ensnared in Manichaean error. In reading Augustin’s account 
of his experience among the Manichaeans, we can not escape the conviction that he was 
never wholly a Manichaean, that he never surrendered himself absolutely to the system. He 
held it rather as a matter of opinion than as a matter of heart-attachment. Doubtless the 
fact that he continued to occupy himself with rhetorical and philosophical studies prevented 
his complete enthrallment. His mind was not naturally of an Oriental cast, and the study 
of the hard, common-sense philosophy of Aristotle, and of the Eclecticism of Cicero, could 
hardly have failed to make him more or less conscious of the absurdity of Manichaeism. 
The influence of scientific studies on his mind is very manifest from Confessions, Book V. 
ch. 3, where he compares the accurate astronomical knowledge with which he had become 
acquainted, with the absurd cosmological fancies of Faustus, the great Manichaean teacher 
who appeared at Carthage in Augustin’s twenty- ninth year. "Many truths, however, con- 
cerning the creation did I retain from these men [the philosophers] , and the cause appeared 
to confirm calculations, the succession of seasons, and the visible manifestations of the stars; 
and I compared them with the sayings of Manichaeus, who in his frenzy has written most 
extensively on these subjects, but discovered not any account either of the solstices, or the 
equinoxes, the eclipses of the luminaries, or anything of the kind I had learned in the books 
of secular philosophy. But therein I was ordered to believe, and yet it corresponded not 
with those rules acknowledged by calculation and by our light, but was far different." 

From this time Augustin’s faith was shaken, and he was soon able to throw off completely 
the yoke that had become too grievous to be borne. But to reject Manichaeism was not ne- 
cessarily to become an orthodox Christian. Augustin finds himself still greatly perplexed 
about the nature of God and the origin of evil, problems the somewhat plausible Manichaean 
solutions of which had ensnared him. It was through Platonism, or rather Neo-Platonism, 
that he was led to more just and satisfying views, and through Platonism, along with other 
influences, he was enabled at last to find peace in the bosom of the Catholic church. "And 
Thou, willing to show me how Thou ‘resistest the proud, but givest grace unto the humble,’ 
and by how great an act of mercy Thou hadst pointed out to men the path of humility, in 
that ‘Thy Word was made flesh and dwelt among men,’ — Thou procuredst for me, by the 
instrumentality of one inflated with monstrous pride, certain books of the Platonists, 
translated from Greek into Fatin. And therein I read not indeed in the same words but to 
the self-same effect, enforced by many and divers reasons, that ‘In the beginning was the 
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning 


39 



Augustin and the Manichceans. 


with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was 
made .’" 15 In other words, Augustin thought that he discerned complete harmony between 
the prologue of John’s gospel and the teachings of the Platonists, and in this teaching, thus 
corroborated, he found the solution of the problem that had caused him such anguish of 
soul. In this connection Augustin points out in some detail the features that Platonism and 
Christianity have in common. Thus Neo-Platonism, not blindly followed, but adapted to 
his Christian purpose, became not only a means of deliverance to Augustin himself, but a 
mighty weapon for the combating of Manichaean error. 

Neo-Platonism enters so largely and influentially into Augustin’s polemics against 
Manichaeism that it will be apposite here to inquire into the extent and the nature of Au- 
gustin’s dependence on this system of thought. Much has been written on this subject, es- 
pecially by German and French scholars. A brief statement of some of the more important 
points of contact is all that is allowable in an essay like this. Premising, therefore, that Pla- 
tonism essentially influenced the entire circle of Augustin’s theological and philosophical 
thinking, let us first examine the Neo- Platonic and Augustinian conceptions of God. With 
Augustin God is absolutely simple and immutable, incomprehensible by men in their present 
state of existence, exalted above all human powers of thought or expression. All things may 
be said of God, and yet nothing worthily; God is honored more by reverential silence than 
by any human voice. He is better known by not being known; it is easier to say what He is 
not, than what He is. God is wanting in qualities; has no variety and multitude of properties 
and attributes; is absolutely simple. By no means is God to be called substance, for the word 
substance pertains to a certain accident; nor is it allowable to think of Him as composed of 
substance and of accidents. Divine qualities are therefore purely subjective. There is no 
discrimination in God of substance and accidents, of potency and act, of matter and form, 
of universal and singular, of superior and inferior. To know, to will, to do, to be, are in God 
equivalent and identical. Eternity itself is the substance of God, which has nothing mutable, 
nothing past, nothing future. God makes new things, without being Himself new, unchange- 
able He makes changeable things, He always works and always rests. The changes that take 
place in the world do not fall in the will of God, but solely in the things moved by God. God 
changes them out of His unchangeable counsel. For nearly every one of these statements 
an almost exact parallel can be pointed out in the writings of Plotinus, the Neo-Platonic 
writer with whom Augustin was most conversant . 16 It would be easy to point out that Au- 
gustin here goes to a dangerous extreme, and narrowly escapes fatalism on the one hand, 


15 Confessions, Book. VII. ch. 9, vol. 1. p. 108, of the present series. 

16 See G. Loesche: De Augustino Plotinizante in Doctrina de Deo Disserenda, Jenae, 1880. Also, Dorner: 
Augustinus, Zeller, Ueberweg, Ritter, and Erdmann: Histories of Philosophy, sections on Augustin and Neo- 
Platonism. 


40 



Augustin and the Manichceans. 


and denial of the true personality of God on the other. But the effectiveness of this type of 
teaching against Manichaeism is what chiefly interests us in this connection. Readers of the 
following treatises will have no difficulty in seeing for themselves how confidently and with 
what telling effect Augustin employs this view of God against the crudities of Manichaeism, 
which thought of God as mutable, as capable of being successfully assailed by evil, as rent 
asunder, as suffering miserable contamination and imprisonment by mixture with matter, 
as painfully struggling for freedom, as suffering with the suffering of plants and animals, as 
liberated by their decay and by the digestive operations of the faithful, etc., etc. 

Again, while still a Manichaean Augustin had thought and written much about beauty. 
On this point also, the throwing off of Manichaeism and the adoption of a Platonizing 
Christianity brought about a revolution in his conceptions. The exactness with which he 
has followed Plotinus in his ideas of the beauty of God and of his creatures is remarkable. 
This we could fully illustrate by the citation of parallel passages. But we must content our 
selves with remarking that Augustin himself acknowledged his indebtedness, and that his 
idea of beauty was an important factor in his polemics against Manichaeism. According to 
Augustin (and Plotinus) God is the most beautiful and splendid of all beings. He is the 
beauty of all beauties; all the beautiful things that are the objects of our vision and love He 
Himself made. If these are beautiful what is He? All beauty is from the highest beauty, 
which is God. Augustin follows Plato and Plotinus even in neglecting the distinction between 
the good and the beautiful. The idea of Divine beauty Augustin applies to Christ also. He 
speaks of Him as beautiful God, beautiful Word with God, beautiful on earth, beautiful in 
the womb, beautiful in the hands of his parents, beautiful in miracles, beautiful in being 
scourged, beautiful when inciting to life, beautiful when not caring for death, beautiful when 
laying down his life, beautiful when taking it up again, beautiful in the sepulchre, beautiful 
in Heaven. The beauty of the creation, which is simply a reflection of the beauty of God, is 
not even disturbed by evil or sin. Beauty is with Augustin (and the Platonists) a compre- 
hensive term, and is almost equivalent to perfect harmony or symmetry of parts, perfect 
adaptation of beings to the ends for which they exist. 

It is patent that this view of the beauty of God and His creation is diametrically opposed 
to the crude conceptions of Mani, with reference to the disorder of the universe, a disorder 
not confined even to the Kingdom of Darkness, but invading the Realm of light itself. So 
also Augustin’s Platonizing views of the creation must be taken into consideration in judging 
of his attitude towards Manichaeism. It goes without saying that from Augustin’s theological 
point of view, to account for creation is a matter of grave difficulty. How can there be a re- 
lation between the infinite and the finite? Any substantial connection is unthinkable. The 
only thing left is a relation of causality. The finite, according to Plotinus, is an accident, an 
image and shadow of God. It is constituted, established, sustained, and nourished by the 
Divine potency, and is therefore absolutely dependent upon God. The power that flows 


41 



Augustin and the Manichceans. 


from God permeates each and every finite thing. God as one, whole, and indivisible, is 
perpetually present with his eternal process, to everything, everywhere. When Augustin 
teaches that God of his own free will, subject to no necessity, by His own Word created the 
world out of nothing, this statement might be taken in connection with his view of the ab- 
solute simplicity of God and the consequent denial of distinction between being, willing, 
doing, etc. The easiest way to get over the difficulty involved in creation was to maintain 
the simultaneous creation of all things. The six days of creation in Genesis are an accom- 
modation to human modes of thinking. In some expressions Augustin approaches the 
Platonic doctrine of the ideal or archetypal world. Finite things, so far as they exist, are es- 
sence, i.e., God; so far as they are not essence they do not exist at all. Thus the distinction 
between God and the world is almost obliterated. Again, whatever is finite and derivative 
is subject to negation or nothingness. Thus he goes along with Plato and Plotinus to the 
verge of denying the reality of derived existence, and so narrowly escapes pantheism. 

It is easy to see how effectively this conception of creation might be employed against 
the Manichaean notion of the creation as something forced upon God by the powers of evil, 
and as a mere expedient for the gradual liberation of his imprisoned elements. The 
Manichaean limitation of God and his domain by the bordering Kingdom of Darkness, was 
in sheer opposition to Augustin’s view of the indivisibility of God and his presence as a 
whole everywhere and always. Augustin’s theory that nature or essence, as far as it has ex- 
istence is God, is quite the antithesis of Mani’s dualism, especially of his supposition that 
the Kingdom of Darkness is essentially and wholly evil. Augustin argued that even the in- 
habitants of the Kingdom of Darkness, and the King of Darkness himself, according to 
Mani’s own representations, are good so far as they have essence or nature, and evil only so 
far as they are non-existent. 

With Augustin’s Platonizing view of creation is closely connected his theory of evil and 
his doctrine of divine providence. Evil with him, as with the Platonists, has no substantial 
existence. It is only privation of good. It is wanting in essence, substance, truth, — is in short 
mere negation, and so cannot have God for its efficient cause or author, or be referred to 
God. God would not have permitted evil unless by His own supreme power he had been 
able to make good use of it. He attempts, with some success, to show the advantages of the 
permission of evil in the world. God made all things good from the angels of heaven to the 
lowest beasts and herbs of the earth. Augustin delighted, with the Platonists, in dwelling 
upon the goodness of nature as shown in the animal and vegetable worlds, as well as in the 
great cosmical phenomena. Each creature of God has its place, some a higher, some a lower, 
but all so far as they conform to the idea of their creation, or to their nature, are good. So 
far as they fall short of this idea they are evil. 

This principle Augustin applied with great force to the confutation of the Manichaean 
view of the substantiality and permanence of evil. This maybe regarded as the central point 



42 



Augustin and the Manichaeans. 


in Augustin’s controversies with the Manichaeans. He evidently felt that the Manichaean 
view of evil was the citadel of their system, and he never wearied of assailing it. It would be 
beyond the scope of the present essay to inquire whether and how far Augustin himself be- 
came involved in error, in his efforts to dislodge the Manichaeans. Far less satisfactory than 
his confutation of the fundamental principles of the Manichaean system were his answers 
to the Manichaean cavils against the Old Testament. If we may judge from the prominence 
given in the extant literature to the Old Testament question, this must have been the favorite 
point of attack with the Manichaeans. The importance of the questions raised and the ne- 
cessity of answering them was fully recognized by Augustin. His principal reliance is the 
allegorical or typological method of interpretation. It would be hard to find examples of 
more perverse allegorizing than Augustin’s Anti-Manichaean treatises furnish. It will not 
be needful to adduce instances here, as readers of the treatises will discover them in 
abundance. Nothing more wearisome and disgusting in Biblical interpretation can well be 
conceived of than certain sections of The Reply to Faustus, the Manichcean. Yet Augustin 
did not fail entirely to recognize the distinction between Old Testament times and New, 
and he even suggests the theory "that God could in a former age and to a people of a lower 
moral standard, give commands to do actions, which we should think it wrong to do now.. . . 
There was a certain inward want, an unenlightenment, a rudeness of moral conception, in 
those to whom such commands were given; otherwise they would not have been given. 
God would not have given a command to slaughter a whole nation to an enlightened 
people ." 17 

Yet with all the defects of Augustin’s polemics against the Manichaeans, they seem to 
have been adapted to the needs of the time. Well does Canon Mozley declare Augustin to 
have been "the most marvellous controversial phenomenon which the whole history of the 
Church from first to last presents.. . . Armed with superabundant facility of expression, — so 
that he himself observes that one who had written so much must have a good deal to answer 
for, — he was able to hammer any point of view which he wanted, and which was desirable 
as a counteracting one to a pervading heresy, with endless repetition upon the ear of the 
Church; at the same time varying the forms of speech sufficiently to please and enliven." 
Certainly he was one of the greatest debaters of any age. He doubtless deserves the credit 
of completely checking the progress of Manichaeism in the West, and of causing its gradual 
but almost complete overthrow. His arguments were probably more effective in guarding 


17 See J. B. Mozley’s Ruling Ideas in Early Ages, art. The Manichaeans and the Jewish Fathers. The sentence 
quoted above is Mozley’s. 


43 



Augustin and the Manichceans. 


Christians against perversion by Manichaean proselytizers, than in converting those that 

were already ensnared by Manichaean error. Other controversies of a completely different 

character, especially the Pelagian, caused Augustin to look to other aspects of truth and so 

led to certain modifications in his own statements, nay led him on some occasions to the 

verge of Manichaean error itself. But we are chiefly interested at present in knowing that 

his earnest efforts against the Manichaeans from A.D. 388, the year of his baptism, to A.D. 
1 8 

405, were not in vain. 


18 For an account of the controversies in which Augustin was engaged with the Manichaeans, and for the 
chronological order of the Anti-Manichaean treatises, see the Preface of the Edinburgh editor. Cf. Bindemann, 
on the various controversies, in his Der h. Augustinus, passim. See also, a good chronological list of St. Augustin’s 
works in Cunningham: St. Austin, p. 277 sq. 


44 



Outline ofManichcean History. 


Chapter X. — Outline of Manichaean History . 19 

In the East Mani’s followers were involved in the persecution that resulted in his death, 
and many of them fled to Transoxiania. Their headquarters and the residence of the chief 
of the sect continued to be Babylon. They returned to Persia in 661, but were driven back, 

908-32. They seem to have become very numerous in the Transoxiania. Albiruni, 973-1048, 
speaks of the Manichaeans as still existing in large numbers throughout all Mohammedan 
lands, and especially in the region of Samarkand, where they were known as Sabeans. He 
also relates that they were prevalent among the Eastern Turks, in China, Thibet and India. 

In Armenia and Cappadocia they gained many followers, and thence made their way into 
Europe. The Paulicians are commonly represented as a Manichaean party, but the descrip- 
tions that have come down to us would seem to indicate Marcionitic rather than Manichaean 
elements. Yet contemporary Catholic writers such as Peter Siculus and Photius constantly 
assail them as Manichaeans. 

In the West we have traces of their existence from 287 onwards. Diocletian, according 
to a somewhat doubtful tradition, condemned its leaders to the stake, and its adherents to 
decapitation with confiscation of goods. The edict is supposed to have been directed to the 
pro-consul of Africa where Manichaeans were making great progress. According to an early 
account, Mani sent a special envoy to Africa. Valentinian (372) and Theodosius (381) issued 
bloody edicts against them, yet we find them still aggressive in the time of Augustin. From 
Africa Manichaeism spread into Spain, Gaul and Aquitaine. Leo the Great and Valentinian 
III. took measures against them in Italy (440 sq.). They appear, however, to have continued 
their work, for Gregory the Great mentions them (590 sq.). From this time onwards their 
influence is to be traced in such parties as the Euchites, Enthusiasts, Bogomiles, Catharists, 

Beghards, etc. But it is not safe to attach too much importance to the mere fact that these 
parties were stigmatized as Manichaeans by their enemies. Even in the Reformation time 
and since, individuals and small parties have appeared which in some features strongly re- 
sembled the ancient Manichaeans. Manichaeism was a product of the East, and in the East 
it met with most acceptance. To the spirit of the West it was altogether foreign, and only 
in a greatly modified form could it ever have flourished there. It might persist for centuries 
as a secret society, but it could not endure the light. 

— u 

32 


19 Compare Professor George T. Stokes’ excellent article Manichceans, in Smith and Wace: Diet. ofChr. 
Biography, vol. III. p. 798 sq. 


45 



Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


Preface to the Anti-Manichaean Writings. 


No reader of the accompanying volume can be expected to take a very lively interest in 
its contents, unless he has before his mind some facts regarding the extraordinary genius 
to whom the heresy of Manichaeism owes its origin and its name. His history is involved 
in considerable obscurity, owing to the suspicious nature of the documents from which it 
is derived, and the difficulty of constructing a consistent and probable account out of the 
contradictory statements of the Asiatics and the Greeks. The ascertained facts, therefore, 

90 

are few, and may be briefly stated. 

According to the Chronicle of Edessa, Mani was born A.D. 240. From his original 
name, Corbicius or Carcubius, Beausobre conjectures that he was born in Carcub, a town 
of Chaldaea. He belonged to a Magian family, and while still a youth won a distinguished 
place among the sages of Persia. He was master of all the lore peculiar to his class, and was, 
besides, so proficient a mathematician and geographer, that he was able to construct a globe. 
He was a skilled musician, and had some knowledge of the Greek language, — an accomplish- 
ment rare among his countrymen. But his fame, and even his ultimate success as a teacher, 
was due in great measure to his skill in painting, which was so considerable as to earn for 
him among the Persians the distinctive title, Mani the painter. His disposition was ardent 
and lively but patient and self-restrained. His appearance was striking, as he wore the usual 
dress of a Persian sage: the high-soled shoes, the one red, the other green; the mantle of 
azure blue, that changed color as he moved; the ebony staff in his right hand, and the 
Babylonish book under his left arm. 

The meaning of his name, Mani, Manes, or Manichaeus, has been the subject of endless 
conjectures. Epiphanius supposes that he was providentially so named, that men might be 
warned against the mania of his heresy. “ Hyde, whose opinion on any Oriental subject 


20 Beausobre ( Histoire Critique de Mattichee et du Manicheisme, Amst. 1734, 2 vols.) has collected everything 
that is known of Mani. The original sources are here sifted with unusual acuteness, and with great and solid 
learning, though the author’s strong "bias in favor of a heretic” frequently leads him to make unwarranted 
statements. Burton’s estimate of this entertaining and indispensable work ( Heresies ofApostol. Age , p. xxi.), is 
much fairer than Pusey’s (Aug. Conf. p. 314). A brief account of Mani and his doctrines is given by Milman 
with his usual accuracy, impartiality and lucidity (Hist, of Christianity, ii. 259, ed. 1867). For any one who wishes 
to investigate the subject further, ample references are there given. A specimen of the confusion that involves 
the history of Mani will be found in the account given by Socrates (Hist. i. 22). 

21 [For the Oriental accounts of Mani’s parentage and youth, see the Introductory Essay, and the works there 
referred to. — A.H.N.] 

22 See also Eusebius: Hist. Eccl. vii. 31, with Fleinichen’s note. 


46 



Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


must have weight, tells us that in Persian mani means painter, and that he was so called 
from his profession. Archbishop Usher conjectured that it was a form of Manaem or Me- 
nahem, which means Paraclete or Comforter; founding this conjecture on the fact that 
Sulpicius Severus calls the Israelitish king Menahem, Mane. Gataker supplements this 
idea by the conjecture that Mani took this name at his own instance, and in pursuance of 
his claim to be the Paraclete. It is more probable that, if his name was really given on account 
of this meaning, he received it from the widow who seems to have adopted him when a boy, 
and may have called him her Consolation. But it is also possible that Mani was not an un- 
common Persian name, and that he adopted it for some reason too trifling to discover . 24 

While still a young man he was ordained as a Christian priest, and distinguished himself 
in that capacity by his knowledge of Scripture, and the zeal with which he discharged his 
sacred functions . His heretical tendencies, however, were very soon manifested, stimulated, 

we may suppose, by his anxiety to make the Christian religion more acceptable to those 
who adhered to the Eastern systems. Excommunicated from the Christian Church, Mani 
found asylum with Sapor, and won his confidence by presenting only the Magian side of 
his system. But no sooner did he permit the Christian element to appear, and call himself 
the apostle of the Lord, and show a desire to reform Magianism, than his sovereign determ- 
ined to put him to death as a revolutionist. Forced to flee, he took refuge in Turkestan, and 
gained influence there, partly by decorating the temples with paintings. To lend his doctrines 
the appearance of divine authority, he adopted the same device as Zoroaster and Mohammed. 
Having discovered a cave through which there ran a rill of water, he laid up in it a store of 
provisions, and retired there for a year, giving out that he was on a visit to heaven. In this 
retirement he produced his Gospel, — a work illustrated with symbolical drawings the in- 
genuity of which has been greatly praised. This book Mani presented to Hormizdas, the 
son and successor of Sapor, who professed himself favorable to his doctrine, and even built 
him a castle as a place of shelter and retirement. Unfortunately for Mani, Hormizdas died 
in the second year of his reign; and though his successor, Varanes, was at first willing to 
shield him from persecution, yet, finding that the Magians were alarmed for their religion, 
he appointed a disputation to be held between the opposing parties. Such trials of dialectic 
in Eastern courts have not unfrequently resulted in very serious consequences to the parties 
engaged in them. In this instance the result was fatal to Mani. Worsted in argument, he 
was condemned to die, and thus perished in some sense as a martyr. The mode of his death 


23 2 Kings xv. 14. 

24 "Peut-etre cherchons nous du mystere , ou il n’y en a point." — Beausobre, i. 79. 

25 [This is in the highest degree improbable. — A.H.N.] 

26 Called Erteng or Arzeng, i.e., according to Renaudot, an illustrated book. 


47 


Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


9 1 

is uncertain, but it seems that his skin was stuffed with chaff, and hung up in public in 
terrorem. This occurred in the year 277, and the anniversary was commemorated as the 
great religious festival of the Manichaeans. 

This is not the place to attempt any account or criticism of the strange eclecticism of 
Mani. An adequate idea of the system maybe gathered from the accompanying treatises. 

It may, however, be desirable to give some account of the original sources of information 
regarding it. 

We study the systems of heresiarchs at a disadvantage when our only means of ascer- 
taining their opinions is from the fragmentary quotations and hostile criticism which occur 
in the writings of their adversaries. Such, however, is our only source of information regard- 
ing the teaching of Mani. Originally, indeed, this heresy was specially active in a literary 
direction, assailing the Christian Scriptures with an ingenuity of unbelief worthy of a later 
age, and apparently ambitious of promulgating a rival canon. Certainly the writings of its 
early supporters were numerous; and from the care and elegance with which they were 
transcribed, the sumptuous character of the manuscripts, and the mysterious emblems with 
which they were adorned, we should fancy it was intended to inspire the people with respect 
for an authoritative though as yet undefined code. It is, indeed, nowhere said or implied 
that the sacred books of the Manichaeans were reserved for the eye only of the initiated or 
elect; and their reception of the New Testament Scriptures (subject to their own revision 
and emendation) would make it difficult for them to establish any secret code apart from 
these writings. They were certainly, however, doctrines of an esoteric kind, which were not 
divulged to the catechumens or hearers; and many of their books, being written in Persian, 
Syriac, or Greek, were practically unavailable for the instruction of the Latin speaking pop- 
ulation. It was not always easy, therefore, to obtain an accurate knowledge of their opinions. 
Commentaries on the whole of the Old and New Testaments were written by Hierax; a 
Theosophy by Aristocritus; a book of memoirs, or rather Memorabilia, of Mani, and other 
works, by Heraclides, Aphthonius, Adas, and Agapius. Unfortunately all of these books 
have perished, whether in the flames to which the Christian authorities commanded that 


27 Bohringer adopts the more horrible tradition. "Sein Schicksal war, dass er von den Christen, von den Ma- 
giern verfolgt, ttach mannigfachem Wechsel unter Bahrain lebendig geschunden wurde" (p. 386). 

28 Bohringer characterizes it briefly in the words: "Es istderalte heidnische Dualismus mit seiner Naturtheo- 
logie, der in Mani’s Systeme seine letzten Krdfte sammelt und unter der gleissenden Hiille christlicher Worte und 
Formen an den reinen Monotheismus des Christenthums und dessen reine Ethik sich heranwagt " 

29 Aug. c. Faustum, xiii. 6 and 18. [See full list of Mani’s writings in Kessler’s art. in Herzog, R.E. — A.H.N.] 

30 Lardner, however, seems to prove that Hierax was not a Manichaean, though some of his opinions approx- 
imated to this heresy. The whole subject of the Manichaean literature is treated by Lardner {Works, iii. p. 374), 
with the learning of Beausobre and more than Beausobre’s impartiality. 


48 



Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


all Manichaean books should be consigned, or by the slower if not more critical and impartial 
processes of time. 

Mani himself was the author of several works: a Gospel, the Treasury of Life (and 
probably an abridgment of the same), the Mysteries, the Foundation Fpistle, a book of Articles 
or heads of doctrine, one or two works on astronomy or astrology, and a collection of letters 
so dangerous, that Manichaeans who sought restoration to the Church were required to 
anathematize them. 

Probably the most important of these writings was the Foundation Epistle, so called 
because it contained the leading articles of doctrine on which the new system was built. 
This letter was written in Greek or Syriac; but a Latin version of it was current in Africa, 
and came into the hands of Augustin, who undertook its refutation. To accomplish this 
with the greater precision and effect, he quotes the entire text of each passage of the Epistle 
before proceeding to criticise it. Had Augustin accomplished the whole of his task, we 
should accordingly have been in possession of the whole of this important document. Un- 
fortunately, for reasons unknown, Augustin stops short at an early point in the Epistle; and 
though he tells us he had notes on the remainder, and would some day expand and publish 
them, this promise lay unredeemed for thirty years till the day of his death. Extracts from 
the same Epistle and from the Treasury are also given by Augustin in the treatise De Natura 
Boni , 31 

Next, we have in the Opus Imperfectum of Augustin some extracts from a letter of Mani 
to Menoch, which Julian had unearthed and republished to convict Augustin of being still 
tainted with Manichaean sentiments. These extracts give us some insight into the heresiarch’s 
opinions regarding the corruption of nature and the evils of sexual love. 

Again, we have Mani’s letter to Marcel, preserved by Epiphanius, and given in full by 
Beausobre; which, however, merely reiterates two of the doctrines most certainly identified 
with Mani, — the assertion of two principles, and the tenet that the Son of God was man only 
in appearance. 

Finally, Fabricius has inserted in the fifth volume of his Bibliotheca Groeca the fragments, 
such as they are, collected by Grabe. 

Such is the fragmentary character of the literary remains of Mani: for fuller information 
regarding his opinions we must depend on Theodoret, Epiphanius, Alexander of Lycopolis, 



3 1 The De Natura Boni, written in the year 405, is necessarily very much a reproduction of what is elsewhere 
affirmed, that all natures are good, and created by God, who alone is immutable and incorruptible. It presents 
concisely the leading positions of Augustin in this controversy, and concludes with an eloquent prayer that his 
efforts may be blessed to the conversion of the heretics, — not the only passage which demonstrates that he wrote 
not for the glory of victory so much as for the deliverance of men from fatal error. 

32 Histoire, i. 91. 


49 



Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


Titus of Bostra, and Augustin. Beausobre is of opinion that the Fathers derived all that they 

IT 

knew of Manichaeus from the Acts of Archelaus. This professes to be a report of a dispu- 

tation held between Manes and Archelaus, bishop of Caschar in Mesopotamia. Grave doubts 
have been cast on the authenticity of this document, and Burton and Milman seem inclined 
to consider it an imaginary dialogue, and use it on the understanding that while some of its 
statements are manifestly untrustworthy, a discriminating reader may gather from it some 
reliable material. 34 

In the works of Augustin there are some other pieces which may well be reckoned among 
the original sources. In the reply to Faustus, which is translated in this volume, the book 
of Faustus is not indeed reproduced; but there is no reason for doubting that his arguments 
are fairly represented, and we think there is evidence that even the original expression of 

•2 r 

them is preserved. Augustin had been acquainted with Faustus for many years. He first 
met him at Carthage in 383, and found him nothing more than a clever and agreeable talker, 

q i /r 

making no pretension to science or philosophy, and with only slender reading. His clev- 
erness is sufficiently apparent in his debate with Augustin; the objections he leads are 
plausible, and put with acuteness, but at the same time with a flippancy which betrays a 
want of earnestness and real interest in the questions. In his reply to Faustus, Augustin is 

07 

very much on the defensive, and his statements are apologetic rather than systematic. 

But in an age when the ability to read was by no means commensurate with the interest 
taken in theological questions, written discussions were necessarily supplemented by public 
disputations. These theological contests seem to have been a popular entertainment in 


33 Published by Zaccagni in his Collectanea Monumentorum Veterum, Romae, 1698; andbyRouthhisRe/iqu/ie 
Sacrce, vol. v., in which all the material for forming an opinion regarding it is collected. 

34 Any one who consults Beausobre on this point will find that historical criticism is not of so recent an 
origin as some persons seem to think. It is worth transcribing his own account of the spirit in which he means 
to do his work: "Je traiterai mon sujet en Critique, suivant la Regie de S. Paul, Examinez toutes choses, et ne 
retenez que ce qui est bon. L’Histoire en general, et I’Histoire Ecclesiastique en particulier, n ’est bien souvent qu’un 
melange confus de faux et de vrai, entasse par des Ecrivains mal instruits, credules ou passionez. Cela convient 
surtout a I’Histoire des Heretiques et des Heresies. C’est au Lecteur attentif et judicieux d’enfaire le discernement, 
a Vaide d’une critique, qui ne soit trop timide, ni temeraire. Sans le secours de cet art, on erre dans I’Histoire 
comme un Pilote sur les mers, lorsqu’il n’a ni boussole, ni carte marine" (i. 7). 

35 Beausobre and Cave suppose that we have the whole of Faustus’ book embodied in Augustin’s review of 
it. Lardner is of opinion that the commencement, and perhaps the greater part, of the work is given, but not 
the whole. 

36 See the interesting account of Faustus in the Confessions, v. 10. 

37 [This estimate of Faustus is somewhat too disparaging. For fuller bibliography, see Introductory Es- 
say. — A.H.N.] 


50 



Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


North Africa; the people attending in immense crowds, while reporters took down what 
was said on either side for the sake of appeal as well as for the information of the absent. 

oq 

In two such disputations Augustin engaged in connection with Manichaeism. The first 
was held on the 28th and 29th of August, 392, with a Manichaean priest, Fortunatus. To 

•jq 

this encounter Augustin was invited by a deputation of Donatists and Catholics, who were 
alike alarmed at the progress which this heresy was making in the district of Hippo. Fortu- 
natus at first showed some reluctance to meet so formidable an antagonist, but was prevailed 
upon by his own sectaries, and shows no nervousness during the debate. His incompetence, 
however, was manifest to the Manichaeans themselves; and so hopeless was it to think of 
any further proselytizing in Hippo, that he left that city, and was too much ashamed of 
himself ever to return. The character of his reasoning is shifty; he evades Augustin’s questions 
and starts fresh ones. Augustin pushes his usual and fundamental objection to the 
Manichaean system. If God is impassable and incorruptible, how could He be injured by 
the assaults of the kingdom of darkness? In opposition to the statement of Fortunatus, that 
the Almighty produces no evil, he explains that God made no nature evil, but made man 
free, and that voluntary sin is the grand original evil. The most remarkable circumstance 
in the discussion is the desire of Fortunatus to direct the conversation to the conduct of the 
Manichaeans, and the refusal of Augustin to make good the charges which had been made 
against them, or to discuss anything but the doctrine. 40 

Twelve years after this, a similar disputation was held between Augustin and one of the 
elect among the Manichaeans, who had come to Hippo to propagate his religion. This man, 
Felix, is described by Augustin 41 as being ill-educated, but more adroit and subtle than 
Fortunatus. After a keen discussion, which occupied two days, the proceedings terminated 
by Felix signing a recantation of his errors in the form of an anathema on Mani, his doctrines, 


38 His willingness to do so, and the success with which he encountered the most renowned champions of 
this heresy, should have prevented Beausobre from charging him with misunderstanding or misrepresenting 
the Manichaean doctrine. The retractation of Felix tells strongly against this view of Augustin’s incompetence 
to deal with Manichaeism. 

39 Possidius. Vita Aug. vi. 

40 This cannot but make us cautious in receiving the statements of the tract, On the Morals of the Manichaeans. 
There can be little doubt that many of the Manichaeans practiced the ascetic virtues, and were recognizable by 
the gauntness and pallor of their looks, so that Manichcean became a by- word for any one who did not appreciate 
the felicity of good living. Thus Jerome says of a certain class of women, "quam viderint pallentem atque tristem, 
Miseram, Monacham, et Manichcean vocant" (De Custod. Virg. Ep. 18). Lardner throws light on the practices 
of the Manichaeans, and effectually disposes of some of the calumnies uttered regarding them. Pusey’s appendix 
to his translation of the Confessions may also be referred to with advantage. 

41 Retract, ii. 8. 


51 



Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


and the seducing spirit that possessed him. These two disputations are valuable, as exhibiting 
the points of the Manichaean system to which its own adherents were accustomed to direct 
attention, and the arguments on which they specially relied for their support. 

The works given in the accompanying volume comprehend by no means the whole of 
Augustin’s writings against this heresy. Before his ordination he wrote five anti-Manichaean 
books, entitled, De Libero Arbitrio, De Genesi contra Manichceos, De Moribus Ecclesice 
Catholicce, De Moribus Manichceorum, and De Vera Religione. These Paulinus called his 
anti-Manichaean Pentateuch. After his ordination he was equally diligent, publishing a little 
treatise in the year 391, under the title De Utilitate Credendi 42 which was immediately fol- 
lowed by a small work, De Duabus Animabus. In the following year the report of the Dispu- 
tatio contra Fortunatum was published; and after this, at short intervals, there appeared the 
books Contra Adimantum, Contra Epistolam Manichcei quam vocant Fundamenti, Contra 
Faustum, Disputatio contra Felicem, De Naturo Boni, and Contra Secundinum. 

Besides these writings, which are exclusively occupied with Manichaeism, there are 
others in which the Manichaean doctrines are handled with more or less directness. These 
are the Confessions, the 79th and 236th Letters, the Lecture on Psalm 140, Sermons 1, 2, 12, 
50, 153, 182, 237, the Fiber de Agone Christiano, and the De Continentia. 

Of these writings, Augustin himself professed a preference for the reply to the letter of 
Secundinus. 43 It is a pleasing feature of the times, that a heretic whom he did not know 
even by sight should write to Augustin entreating him to abstain from writing against the 
Manichaeans, and reconsider his position, and ally himself with those whom he had till now 
fancied to be in error. His language is respectful, and illustrates the esteem in which Augustin 
was held by his contemporaries; though he does not scruple to insinuate that his conversion 
from Manichaeism was due to motives not of the highest kind. We have not given this letter 
and its reply, because the preference of Augustin has not been ratified by the judgment of 
his readers. 

The present volume gives a fair sample of Augustin’s controversial powers. His nine 
years’ personal experience of the vanity of Manichaeism made him thoroughly earnest and 
sympathetic in his efforts to disentangle other men from its snares, and also equipped him 
with the knowledge requisite for this task. No doubt the Pelagian controversy was more 
congenial to his mind. His logical acuteness and knowledge of Scripture availed him more 
in combating men who fought with the same weapons, than in dealing with a system which 
threw around its positions the mist of Gnostic speculation, or veiled its doctrine under a 
grotesque mythology, or based itself on a cosmogony too fantastic for a Western mind to 


42 Epist. August, xxv. 

43 Retract, ii. 10: "quod, mea sententia, omnibus quoe adversus illam pestem scribere potui, facile prcepono. 
The reason of this preference is explained by Bindemann, Der heilige Augstinus, iii. 168. 


52 


Preface to the Anti-Manichcean Writings. 


tolerate . 44 But however Augustin may have misconceived the strange forms in which this 
system was presented, there is no doubt that he comprehended and demolished its funda- 
mental principles ; 45 that he did so as a necessary part of his own personal search for the 
truth; and that in doing so he gained possession, vitally and permanently of ideas and 
principles which subsequently entered into all he thought and wrote. In finding his way 
through the mazes of the obscure region into which Mani had led him, he once for all ascer- 
tained the true relation subsisting between God and His creatures, formed his opinion re- 
garding the respective provinces of reason and faith, and the connection of the Old and 
New Testaments, and found the root of all evil in the created will. 

The Editor. 

Some knowledge of the Magianism of the time of Mani maybe obtained from the sacred 
books of the Parsis, especially from the Vendidad Sade, an account of which is given by Dr. 
Wilson, of Bombay, in his book on the Parsi Religion. — Tr. 


44 "Wo Entwickelungen, dialektische Begriffe sein sollten, stellt sich ein Bild, ein Mythus ein . " — Bohringer, p. 
390. 

45 Some have thought Augustin more successful here than elsewhere. Cassiodorus may have thought so 
when he said: "diligentius atque vivadus adversus eos quam contra hcereses alias disseruit" ( Instit . i. quoted by 
Lardner). 


53 



On the Morals of the Catholic Church. 

ST. AUGUSTIN: 

IN 

37 

ON THE 

MORALS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. 

[DE MORIBUS ECCLESLE CATHOLIC^]. 

A.D. 388. 

TRANSLATED BY THE 

REV. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A., 

BOMBAY 


54 



Argument. 


Of the Morals of the Catholic Church . 46 

[De Moribus Ecclesise Catholicas]. a.d. 388. 

It is laid down at the outset that the customs of the holy life of the Church should be referred 
to the chief good of man, that is, God. We must seek after God with supreme affection; 
and this doctrine is supported in the Catholic Church by the authority of both Testaments. 
The four virtues get their names from different forms of this love. Then follow the duties 
of love to our neighbor. In the Catholic Church we find examples of continence and of 
true Christian conduct. 


46 Written in the year 388. In his Retractations (i. 7) Augustin says: "When I was at Rome after my baptism, 
and could not bear in silence the vaunting of the Manichaeans about their pretended and misleading continence 
or abstinence, in which, to deceive the inexperienced, they claim superiority over true Christians, to whom they 
are not to be compared, I wrote two books, one on the morals of the Catholic Church, the other on the morals 
of the Manichaeans." 


55 



How the Pretensions of the Manichceans are to Be Refuted. Two Manichcean. . . 


Chapter 1. — How the Pretensions of the Manichaeans are to Be Refuted. Two 

Manichsean Falsehoods. 

1. Enough, probably, has been done in our other books 47 in the way of answering the 
ignorant and profane attacks which the Manichaeans make on the law, which is called the 
Old Testament, in a spirit of vainglorious boasting, and with the approval of the uninstructed. 
Here, too, I may shortly touch upon the subject. For every one with average intelligence 
can easily see that the explanation of the Scriptures should be sought for from those who 
are the professed teachers of the Scriptures; and that it may happen, and indeed always 
happens, that many things seem absurd to the ignorant, which, when they are explained by 
the learned, appear all the more excellent, and are received in the explanation with the 
greater pleasure on account of the obstructions which made it difficult to reach the meaning. 
This commonly happens as regards the holy books of the Old Testament, if only the man 
who meets with difficulties applies to a pious teacher, and not to a profane critic, and if he 
begins his inquiries from a desire to find truth, and not in rash opposition. And should the 
inquirer meet with some, whether bishops or presbyters, or any officials or ministers of the 
Catholic Church, who either avoid in all cases opening up mysteries, or, content with simple 
faith, have no desire for more recondite knowledge, he must not despair of finding the 
knowledge of the truth in a case where neither are all able to teach to whom the inquiry is 
addressed, nor are all inquirers worthy of learning the truth. Diligence and piety are both 
necessary: on the one hand, we must have knowledge to find truth, and, on the other hand, 
we must deserve to get the knowledge. 

2. But as the Manichaeans have two tricks for catching the unwary, so as to make them 
take them as teachers, — one, that of finding fault with the Scriptures, which they either 
misunderstand or wish to be misunderstood, the other, that of making a show of chastity 
and of notable abstinence, — this book shall contain our doctrine of life and morals according 
to Catholic teaching, and will perhaps make it appear how easy it is to pretend to virtue, 
and how difficult to possess virtue. I will refrain, if I can, from attacking their weak points, 
which I know well, with the violence with which they attack what they know nothing of; for 
I wish them, if possible, to be cured rather than conquered. And I will quote such testimonies 
from the Scriptures as they are bound to believe, for they shall be from the New Testament; 
and even from this I will take none of the passages which the Manichaeans when hard pressed 
are accustomed to call spurious, but passages which they are obliged to acknowledge and 
approve. And for every testimony from apostolic teaching I will bring a similar statement 
from the Old Testament, that if they ever become willing to wake up from their persistent 
dreams, and to rise towards the light of Christian faith, they may discover both how far from 


47 [This is commonly supposed to have been the first work of any importance written by the Author against 

Manichseism. What he here refers to it is not easy to conjecture. — A.H.N.] 


56 



How the Pretensions of the Manichceans are to Be Refuted. Two Manichcean. . . 


being Christian is the life which they profess, and how truly Christian is the Scripture which 
they cavil at. 


57 



He Begins with Arguments, in Compliance with the Mistaken Method of the... 


Chapter 2. — He Begins with Arguments, in Compliance with the Mistaken Method 

of the Manichseans. 

3. Where, then, shall I begin? With authority, or with reasoning? In the order of nature, 
when we learn anything, authority precedes reasoning. Fora reason may seem weak, when, 
after it is given, it requires authority to confirm it. But because the minds of men are obscured 
by familiarity with darkness, which covers them in the night of sins and evil habits, and 
cannot perceive in a way suitable to the clearness and purity of reason, there is most 
wholesome provision for bringing the dazzled eye into the light of truth under the congenial 
shade of authority. But since we have to do with people who are perverse in all their thoughts 
and words and actions, and who insist on nothing more than on beginning with argument, 
I will, as a concession to them, take what I think a wrong method in discussion. For I like 
to imitate, as far as I can, the gentleness of my Lord Jesus Christ, who took on Himself the 
evil of death itself, wishing to free us from it. 


58 



Happiness is in the Enjoyment of Man’s Chief Good. Two Conditions of the... 


Chapter 3. — Happiness is in the Enjoyment of Man’s Chief Good. Two Conditions 

of the Chief Good: 1st, Nothing is Better Than It; 2d, It Cannot Be Lost Against 
the Will. 

4. How then, according to reason, ought man to live? We all certainly desire to live 
happily; and there is no human being but assents to this statement almost before it is made. 
But the title happy cannot, in my opinion, belong either to him who has not what he loves, 
whatever it may be, or to him who has what he loves if it is hurtful or to him who does not 
love what he has, although it is good in perfection. For one who seeks what he cannot obtain 
suffers torture, and one who has got what is not desirable is cheated, and one who does not 
seek for what is worth seeking for is diseased. Now in all these cases the mind cannot but 
be unhappy, and happiness and unhappiness cannot reside at the same time in one man; 
so in none of these cases can the man be happy. I find, then, a fourth case, where the happy 
life exists, — when that which is man’s chief good is both loved and possessed. For what do 
we call enjoyment but having at hand the objects of love? And no one can be happy who 
does not enjoy what is man’s chief good, nor is there any one who enjoys this who is not 
happy. We must then have at hand our chief good, if we think of living happily. 

5. We must now inquire what is man’s chief good, which of course cannot be anything 
inferior to man himself. For whoever follows after what is inferior to himself, becomes 
himself inferior. But every man is bound to follow what is best. Wherefore man’s chief 
good is not inferior to man. Is it then something similar to man himself? It must be so, if 
there is nothing above man which he is capable of enjoying. But if we find something which 
is both superior to man, and can be possessed by the man who loves it, who can doubt that 
in seeking for happiness man should endeavor to reach that which is more excellent than 
the being who makes the endeavor. For if happiness consists in the enjoyment of a good 
than which there is nothing better, which we call the chief good, how can a man be properly 
called happy who has not yet attained to his chief good? or how can that be the chief good 
beyond which something better remains for us to arrive at? Such, then, being the chief good, 
it must be something which cannot be lost against the will. For no one can feel confident 
regarding a good which he knows can be taken from him, although he wishes to keep and 
cherish it. But if a man feels no confidence regarding the good which he enjoys, how can 
he be happy while in such fear of losing it? 


59 



Man — What? 


Chapter 4. — Man — What? 

6. Let us then see what is better than man. This must necessarily be hard to find, unless 
we first ask and examine what man is. I am not now called upon to give a definition of 
man. The question here seems to me to be, — since almost all agree, or at least, which is 
enough, those I have now to do with are of the same opinion with me, that we are made up 
of soul and body, — What is man? Is he both of these? or is he the body only, or the soul 
only? For although the things are two, soul and body, and although neither without the 
other could be called man (for the body would not be man without the soul, nor again would 
the soul be man if there were not a body animated by it), still it is possible that one of these 
may be held to be man, and may be called so. What then do we call man? Is he soul and 
body, as in a double harness, or like a centaur? Or do we mean the body only, as being in 
the service of the soul which rules it, as the word lamp denotes not the light and the case 
together, but only the case, yet it is on account of the light that it is so called? Or do we 
mean only the mind, and that on account of the body which it rules, as horseman means 
not the man and the horse, but the man only, and that as employed in ruling the horse? 
This dispute is not easy to settle; or, if the proof is plain, the statement requires time. This 
is an expenditure of time and strength which we need not incur. For whether the name 
man belongs to both, or only to the soul, the chief good of man is not the chief good of the 
body; but what is the chief good either of both soul and body, or of the soul only, that is 
man’s chief good. 


60 



Man’s Chief Good is Not the Chief Good of the Body Only, But the Chief Good... 


Chapter 5. — Man’s Chief Good is Not the Chief Good of the Body Only, But the 
Chief Good of the Soul. 

7. Now if we ask what is the chief good of the body, reason obliges us to admit that it 
is that by means of which the body comes to be in its best state. But of all the things which 
invigorate the body, there is nothing better or greater than the soul. The chief good of the 
body, then, is not bodily pleasure, not absence of pain, not strength, not beauty, not swiftness, 
or whatever else is usually reckoned among the goods of the body, but simply the soul. For 
all the things mentioned the soul supplies to the body by its presence, and, what is above 
them all, life. Hence I conclude that the soul is not the chief good of man, whether we give 
the name of man to soul and body together, or to the soul alone. For as according to reason, 
the chief good of the body is that which is better than the body, and from which the body 
receives vigor and life, so whether the soul itself is man, or soul and body both, we must 
discover whether there is anything which goes before the soul itself, in following which the 
soul comes to the perfection of good of which it is capable in its own kind. If such a thing 
can be found, all uncertainty must be at an end, and we must pronounce this to be really 
and truly the chief good of man. 

8. If, again, the body is man, it must be admitted that the soul is the chief good of man. 
But clearly, when we treat of morals, — when we inquire what manner of life must be held 
in order to obtain happiness, — it is not the body to which the precepts are addressed, it is 
not bodily discipline which we discuss. In short, the observance of good customs belongs 
to that part of us which inquires and learns, which are the prerogatives of the soul; so, when 
we speak of attaining to virtue, the question does not regard the body. But if it follows, as 
it does, that the body which is ruled over by a soul possessed of virtue is ruled both better 
and more honorably, and is in its greatest perfection in consequence of the perfection of 
the soul which rightfully governs it, that which gives perfection to the soul will be man’s 
chief good, though we call the body man. For if my coachman, in obedience to me, feeds 
and drives the horses he has charge of in the most satisfactory manner, himself enjoying 
the more of my bounty in proportion to his good conduct, can any one deny that the good 
condition of the horses, as well as that of the coachman, is due to me? So the question seems 
to me to be not, whether soul and body is man, or the soul only, or the body only, but what 
gives perfection to the soul; for when this is obtained, a man cannot but be either perfect, 
or at least much better than in the absence of this one thing. 


61 



Virtue Gives Perfection to the Soul; The Soul Obtains Virtue by Following... 


Chapter 6. — Virtue Gives Perfection to the Soul; The Soul Obtains Virtue by Follow- 
ing God; Following God is the Happy Life. 

9. No one will question that virtue gives perfection to the soul. But it is a very proper 
subject of inquiry whether this virtue can exist by itself or only in the soul. Here again arises 
a profound discussion, needing lengthy treatment; but perhaps my summary will serve the 
purpose. God will, I trust, assist me, so that, notwithstanding our feebleness, we may give 
instruction on these great matters briefly as well as intelligibly. In either case, whether virtue 
can exist by itself without the soul, or can exist only in the soul, undoubtedly in the pursuit 
of virtue the soul follows after something, and this must be either the soul itself, or virtue, 
or something else. But if the soul follows after itself in the pursuit of virtue, it follows after 
a foolish thing; for before obtaining virtue it is foolish. Now the height of a follower’s desire 
is to reach that which he follows after. So the soul must either not wish to reach what it 
follows after, which is utterly absurd and unreasonable, or, in following after itself while 
foolish, it reaches the folly which it flees from. But if it follows after virtue in the desire to 
reach it, how can it follow what does not exist? or how can it desire to reach what it already 
possesses? Either, therefore, virtue exists beyond the soul, or if we are not allowed to give 
the name of virtue except to the habit and disposition of the wise soul, which can exist only 
in the soul, we must allow that the soul follows after something else in order that virtue may 
be produced in itself; for neither by following after nothing, nor by following after folly, can 
the soul, according to my reasoning, attain to wisdom. 

10. This something else then, by following after which the soul becomes possessed of 
virtue and wisdom, is either a wise man or God. But we have said already that it must be 
something that we cannot lose against our will. No one can think it necessary to ask 
whether a wise man, supposing we are content to follow after him, can be taken from us in 
spite of our unwillingness or our persistence. God then remains, in following after whom 
we live well, and in reaching whom we live both well and happily. If any deny God’s exist- 
ence, why should I consider the method of dealing with them, when it is doubtful whether 
they ought to be dealt with at all? At any rate, it would require a different starting-point, a 
different plan, a different investigation from what we are now engaged in. I am now address- 
ing those who do not deny the existence of God, and who, moreover, allow that human affairs 
are not disregarded by Him. For there is no one, I suppose, who makes any profession of 
religion but will hold that divine Providence cares at least for our souls. 


62 



The Knowledge of God to Be Obtained from the Scripture. The Plan and Principal... 


Chapter 7. — The Knowledge of God to Be Obtained from the Scripture. The Plan 

and Principal Mysteries of the Divine Scheme of Redemption. 

11. But how can we follow after Him whom we do not see? or how can we see Him, we 
who are not only men, but also men of weak understanding? For though God is seen not 
with the eyes but with the mind, where can such a mind be found as shall, while obscured 
by foolishness, succeed or even attempt to drink in that light? We must therefore have re- 
course to the instructions of those whom we have reason to think wise. Thus far argument 
brings us. For in human things reasoning is employed, not as of greater certainty, but as 
easier from use. But when we come to divine things, this faculty turns away; it cannot behold; 
it pants, and gasps, and burns with desire; it falls back from the light of truth, and turns 
again to its wonted obscurity, not from choice, but from exhaustion. What a dreadful 
catastrophe is this, that the soul should be reduced to greater helplessness when it is seeking 
rest from its toil! So, when we are hasting to retire into darkness, it will be well that by the 
appointment of adorable Wisdom we should be met by the friendly shade of authority, and 
should be attracted by the wonderful character of its contents, and by the utterances of its 
pages, which, like shadows, typify and attemper the truth. 

12. What more could have been done for our salvation? What can be more gracious 
and bountiful than divine providence, which, when man had fallen from its laws, and, in 
just retribution for his coveting mortal things, had brought forth a mortal offspring, still 
did not wholly abandon him? For in this most righteous government, whose ways are 
strange and inscrutable, there is, by means of unknown connections established in the 
creatures subject to it, both a severity of punishment and a mercifulness of salvation. How 
beautiful this is, how great, how worthy of God, in fine, how true, which is all we are seeking 
for, we shall never be able to perceive, unless, beginning with things human and at hand, 
and holding by the faith and the precepts of true religion, we continue without turning from 
it in the way which God has secured for us by the separation of the patriarchs, by the bond 
of the law, by the foresight of the prophets, by the witness of the apostles, by the blood of 
the martyrs, and by the subjugation of the Gentiles. From this point, then, let no one ask 
me for my opinion, but let us rather hear the oracles, and submit our weak inferences to the 
announcements of Heaven. 


48 [Augustin’s transition from his fine Platonizing discussion of virtue, the chief good, etc., to the patriarchs, 

the law, and the prophets is very fine rhetorically and apologetically. — A.H.N.] 


63 



God is the Chief Good, Whom We are to Seek After with Supreme Affection 


Chapter 8. — God is the Chief Good, Whom We are to Seek After with Supreme Af- 
fection. 

13. Let us see how the Lord Himself in the gospel has taught us to live; how, too, Paul 
the apostle, — for the Manichaeans dare not reject these Scriptures. Let us hear, O Christ, 
what chief end Thou dost prescribe to us; and that is evidently the chief end after which we 
are told to strive with supreme affection. "Thou shalt love," He says, "the Lord thy God." 
Tell me also, I pray Thee, what must be the measure of love; for I fear lest the desire enkindled 
in my heart should either exceed or come short in fervor. "With all thy heart," He says. Nor 
is that enough. "With all thy soul." Nor is it enough yet. "With all thy mind." 49 What do 
you wish more? I might, perhaps, wish more if I could see the possibility of more. What 
does Paul say on this? "We know," he says, "that all things issue in good to them that love 
God." Let him, too, say what is the measure of love. "Who then," he says, "shall separate us 
from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, 
or peril, or the sword?" 50 We have heard, then, what and how much we must love; this we 
must strive after, and to this we must refer all our plans. The perfection of all our good 
things and our perfect good is God. We must neither come short of this nor go beyond it: 
the one is dangerous, the other impossible. 


49 Matt. xxii. 37. 

50 Rom. viii. 28, 35. 


64 


Harmony of the Old and New Testament on the Precepts of Charity. 


Chapter 9. — Harmony of the Old and New Testament on the Precepts of Charity. 51 

14. Come now, let us examine, or rather let us take notice, — for it is obvious and can 
be seen, at once, — whether the authority of the Old Testament too agrees with those state- 
ments taken from the gospel and the apostle. What need to speak of the first statement, 
when it is clear to all that it is a quotation from the law given by Moses? For it is there 
written, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind." And not to go farther for a passage of the Old Testament to compare with 
that of the apostle, he has himself added one. For after saying that no tribulation, no distress, 
no persecution, no pressure of bodily want, no peril, no sword, separates us from the love 
of Christ, he immediately adds, "As it is written, For Thy sake we are in suffering all the day 
long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." The Manichaeans are in the habit of 
saying that this is an interpolation, — so unable are they to reply, that they are forced in their 
extremity to say this. But every one can see that this is all that is left for men to say when it 
is proved that they are wrong. 

15. And yet I ask them if they deny that this is said in the Old Testament, or if they hold 
that the passage in the Old Testament does not agree with that of the apostle. For the first, 
the books will prove it; and as for the second, those prevaricators who fly off at a tangent 
will be brought to agree with me, if they will only reflect a little and consider what is said, 
or else I will press upon them the opinion of those who judge impartially. For what could 
agree more harmoniously than these passages? For tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, 
nakedness, peril, cause great suffering to man while in this life. So all these words are implied 
in the single quotation from the law, where it is said, "For Thy sake we are in suffering." 54 
The only other thing is the sword, which does not inflict a painful life, but removes whatever 
life it meets with. Answering to this are the words, "We are accounted as sheep for the 


51 [The most satisfactory feature of Augustin’s apology for the Old Testament Scriptures is his demonstration 
of the substantial agreement of the Old Testament with undisputed portions of the New Testament. — A.H.N.] 

52 Deut. vi. 5. 

53 Rom. viii. 36; cf. Ps. xliv. 22. 

54 Retract, i. 7, § 2: — "In the book on the morals of the Catholic Church, where I have quoted the words, ‘For 
Thy sake we are in suffering all day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,’ the inaccuracy of my 
manuscript misled me; for my recollection of the Scriptures was defective from my not being at that time famil- 
iar with them. For the reading of the other manuscripts has a different meaning: not, we suffer, but we suffer 
death, or, in one word, we are killed. That this is the true reading is shown by the Greek text of the Septuagint, 
from which the Old Testament was translated into Latin. I have indeed made a good many remarks on the 
words, ‘For thy sake we suffer,’ and the things said are not wrong in themselves; but, as regards the harmony of 
the Old and New Testaments, this case certainly does not prove it. The error originated in the way mentioned 
above, and this harmony is afterwards abundantly proved from other passages." 


65 


Harmony of the Old and New Testament on the Precepts of Charity. 


slaughter.” And love could not have been more plainly expressed than by the words, "For 
Thy sake." Suppose, then, that this testimony is not found in the Apostle Paul, but is quoted 
by me, must you not prove, you heretic, either that this is not written in the old law, or that 
it does not harmonize with the apostle? And if you dare not say either of these things (for 
you are shut up by the reading of the manuscript, which will show that it is written, and by 
common sense, which sees that nothing could agree better with what is said by the apostle), 
why do you imagine that there is any force in accusing the Scriptures of being corrupted? 
And once more, what will you reply to a man who says to you, This is what I understand, 
this is my view, this is my belief, and I read these books only because I see that everything 
in them agrees with the Christian faith? Or tell me at once if you will venture deliberately 
to tell me to the face that we are not to believe that the apostles and martyrs are spoken of 
as having endured great sufferings for Christ’s sake, and as having been accounted by their 
persecutors as sheep for the slaughter? If you cannot say this, why should you bring a charge 
against the book in which I find what you acknowledge I ought to believe? 


66 



What the Church Teaches About God. The Two Gods of the Manichceans. 


Chapter 10. — What the Church Teaches About God. The Two Gods of the 

Manichseans. 

16. Will you say that you grant that we are bound to love God, but not the God wor- 
shipped by those who acknowledge the authority of the Old Testament? In that case you 
refuse to worship the God who made heaven and earth, for this is the God set forth all 
through these books. And you admit that the whole of the world, which is called heaven 
and earth, had God and a good God for its author and maker. For in speaking to you about 
God we must make a distinction. For you hold that there are two gods, one good and the 
other bad. 

But if you say that you worship and approve of worshipping the God who made heaven 
and earth, but not the God supported by the authority of the Old T estament, you act imper- 
tinently in trying, though vainly, to attribute to us views and opinions altogether unlike the 
wholesome and profitable doctrine we really hold. Nor can your silly and profane discourses 
be at all compared with the expositions in which learned and pious men of the Catholic 
Church open up those Scriptures to the willing and worthy. Our understanding of the law 
and the prophets is quite different from what you suppose. Mistake us no longer. We do 
not worship a God who repents, or is envious, or needy, or cruel, or who takes pleasure in 
the blood of men or beasts, or is pleased with guilt and crime, or whose possession of the 
earth is limited to a little corner of it. These and such like are the silly notions you are in 
the habit of denouncing at great length. Your denunciation does not touch us. The fancies 
of old women or of children you attack with a vehemence that is only ridiculous. Any one 
whom you persuade in this way to join you shows no fault in the teaching of the Church, 
but only proves his own ignorance of it. 

17. If, then, you have any human feeling, — if you have any regard for your own wel- 
fare, — you should rather examine with diligence and piety the meaning of these passages 
of Scripture. You should examine, unhappy beings that you are; for we condemn with no 
less severity and copiousness any faith which attributes to God what is unbecoming Him, 
and in those by whom these passages are literally understood we correct the mistake of ig- 
norance, and look upon persistence in it as absurd. And in many other things which you 
cannot understand there is in the Catholic teaching a check on the belief of those who have 
got beyond mental childishness, not in years, but in knowledge and understanding — old in 
the progress towards wisdom. For we learn the folly of believing that God is bounded by 
any amount of space, even though infinite; and it is held unlawful to think of God, or any 
part of Him, as moving from one place to another. And should any one suppose that anything 
in God’s substance or nature can suffer change or conversion, he will be held guilty of wild 
profanity. There are thus among us children who think of God as having a human form, 
which they suppose He really has, which is a most degrading idea; and there are many of 
full age to whose mind the majesty of God appears in its inviolableness and unchangeableness 


67 



What the Church Teaches About God. The Two Gods of the Manichceans. 


as not only above the human body, but above their own mind itself. These ages, as we said, 
are distinguished not by time, but by virtue and discretion . 55 Among you, again, there is 
no one who will picture God in a human form; but neither is there one who sets God apart 
from the contamination of human error. As regards those who are fed like crying babies 
at the breast of the Catholic Church, if they are not carried off by heretics, they are nourished 
according to the vigor and capacity of each, and arrive at last, one in one way and another 
in another, first to a perfect man, and then to the maturity and hoary hairs of wisdom, when 
they may get life as they desire, and life in perfect happiness. 


55 [Augustin’s virtus takes the place of the Greek Suudpctq and the Vulgate virtutes. It is not quite certain 
what meaning he attached to the expression. He seems to waver between the idea of power and that of virtue 
in the ethical sense, and finally settles down to the use of the term in the latter sense. That this does not accord 
with the meaning of the Apostle is evident. — A.H.N.] 


68 



God is the One Object of Love; Therefore He is Man’s Chief Good. Nothing... 


Chapter 11. — God is the One Object of Love; Therefore He is Man’s Chief Good. 

Nothing is Better Than God. God Cannot Be Lost Against Our Will. 

18. Following after God is the desire of happiness; to reach God is happiness itself. We 
follow after God by loving Him; we reach Him, not by becoming entirely what He is, but 
in nearness to Him, and in wonderful and immaterial contact with Him, and in being in- 
wardly illuminated and occupied by His truth and holiness. He is light itself; we get enlight- 
enment from Him. The greatest commandment, therefore, which leads to happy life, and 
the first, is this: "Thou shaft love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and mind." 
For to those who love the Lord all things issue in good. Hence Paul adds shortly after, "I 
am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor virtue, nor things present, nor 
things future, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from 
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 56 If, then, to those who love God all 
things issue in good, and if, as no one doubts, the chief or perfect good is not only to be 
loved, but to be loved so that nothing shall be loved better, as is expressed in the words, 
"With all thy soul, with all thy heart, and with all thy mind," who, I ask, will not at once 
conclude, when these things are all settled and most surely believed, that our chief good 
which we must hasten to arrive at in preference to all other things is nothing else than God? 
And then, if nothing can separate us from His love, must not this be surer as well as better 
than any other good? 

19. But let us consider the points separately. No one separates us from this by threat- 
ening death. For that with which we love God cannot die, except in not loving God; for 
death is not to love God, and that is when we prefer anything to Him in affection and pursuit. 
No one separates us from this in promising life; for no one separates us from the fountain 
in promising water. Angels do not separate us; for the mind cleaving to God is not inferior 
in strength to an angel. Virtue does not separate us; for if what is here called virtue is that 
which has power in this world, the mind cleaving to God is far above the whole world. Or 
if this virtue is perfect rectitude of our mind itself, this in the case of another will favor our 
union with God, and in ourselves will itself unite us with God. Present troubles do not 
separate us; for we feel their burden less the closer we cling to Him from whom they try to 
separate us. The promise of future things does not separate us; for both future good of every 
kind is surest in the promise of God, and nothing is better than God Himself, who un- 
doubtedly is already present to those who truly cleave to Him. Height and depth do not 
separate us; for if the height and depth of knowledge are what is meant, I will rather not be 
inquisitive than be separated from God; nor can any instruction by which error is removed 
separate me from Him, by separation from whom it is that any one is in error. Or if what 
is meant are the higher and lower parts of this world, how can the promise of heaven separate 


56 Rom. viii. 38, 39. 


69 


God is the One Object of Love; Therefore He is Man’s Chief Good. Nothing... 


me from Him who made heaven? Or who from beneath can frighten me into forsaking 
God, when I should not have known of things beneath but by forsaking Him? In fine, what 
place can remove me from His love, when He could not be all in every place unless He were 
contained in none? 


70 



We are United to God by Love, in Subjection to Him. 


Chapter 12. — We are United to God by Love, in Subjection to Him. 

20. "No other creature," he says, separates us. Oman of profound mysteries! He thought 
it not enough to say, no creature: but he says no other creature; teaching that with which 
we love God and by which we cleave to God, our mind, namely, and understanding, is itself 
a creature. Thus the body is another creature; and if the mind is an object of intellectual 
perception, and is known only by this means, the other creature is all that is an object of 
sense, which as it were makes itself known through the eyes, or ears, or smell, or taste, or 
touch, and this must be inferior to what is perceived by the intellect alone. Now, as God 

rn 

also can be known by the worthy, only intellectually, exalted though He is above the intel- 
ligent mind as being its Creator and Author, there was danger lest the human mind, from 
being reckoned among invisible and immaterial things, should be thought to be of the same 
nature with Him who created it, and so should fall away by pride from Him to whom it 
should be united by love. For the mind becomes like God, to the extent vouchsafed by its 
subj ection of itself to Him for information and enlightenment. And if it obtains the greatest 
nearness by that subjection which produces likeness, it must be far removed from Him by 
that presumption which would make the likeness greater. It is this presumption which leads 
the mind to refuse obedience to the laws of God, in the desire to be sovereign, as God is. 

21. The farther, then, the mind departs from God, not in space, but in affection and 
lust after things below Him, the more it is filled with folly and wretchedness. So by love it 
returns to God, — a love which places it not along with God, but under Him. And the more 
ardor and eagerness there is in this, the happier and more elevated will the mind be, and 
with God as sole governor it will be in perfect liberty. Hence it must know that it is a 
creature. It must believe what is the truth, — that its Creator remains ever possessed of the 
inviolable and immutable nature of truth and wisdom, and must confess, even in view of 
the errors from which it desires deliverance, that it is liable to folly and falsehood. But then 
again, it must take care that it be not separated by the love of the other creature, that is, of 
this visible world, from the love of God Himself, which sanctifies it in order to lasting hap- 
piness. No other creature, then, — for we are ourselves a creature, — separates us from the 
love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

— k 
48 


57 [ I.e . only by the use of the mental faculty of which God Himself is the Creator and Author; not by any 

independently existing power "of the same nature with Him who created it." — A.H.N.] 


71 



We are Joined Inseparably to God by Christ and His Spirit. 


Chapter 13. — We are Joined Inseparably to God by Christ and His Spirit. 

22. Let this same Paul tell us who is this Christ Jesus our Lord. "To them that are called," 

ro 

he says, "we preach Christ the virtue of God, and the wisdom of God." And does not 
Christ Himself say, "I am the truth?" 59 If, then, we ask what it is to live well, — that is, to 
strive after happiness by living well, — it must assuredly be to love virtue, to love wisdom, 
to love truth, and to love with all the heart, with all the soul, and with all the mind; virtue 
which is inviolable and immutable, wisdom which never gives place to folly, truth which 
knows no change or variation from its uniform character. Through this the Father Himself 
is seen; for it is said, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." To this we cleave by 
sanctification. For when sanctified we burn with full and perfect love, which is the only se- 
curity for our not turning away from God, and for our being conformed to Him rather than 
to this world; for "He has predestinated us," says the same apostle, "that we should be con- 
formed to the image of His Son." 60 

23. It is through love, then, that we become conformed to God; and by this conformation, 
and configuration, and circumcision from this world we are not confounded with the things 
which are properly subject to us. And this is done by the Holy Spirit. "For hope," he says, 
"does not confound us; for the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, 
which is given unto us." 61 But we could not possibly be restored to perfection by the Holy 
Spirit, unless He Himself continued always perfect and immutable. And this plainly could 
not be unless He were of the nature and of the very substance of God, who alone is always 
possessed of immutability and invariableness. "The creature," it is affirmed, not by me but 
by Paul, "has been made subject to vanity." And what is subject to vanity is unable to 
separate us from vanity, and to unite us to the truth. But the Holy Spirit does this for us. 
He is therefore no creature. For whatever is, must be either God or the creature. 


58 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. 

59 John xiv. 6. 

60 Rom. viii. 29. 

61 Rom. v. 5. 


62 Rom. viii. 20. 


72 


We Cleave to the Trinity, Our Chief Good, by Love. 


Chapter 14. — We Cleave to the Trinity, Our Chief Good, by Love. 

24. We ought then to love God, the Trinity in unity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for 
this must be said to be God Himself, for it is said of God, truly and in the most exalted sense, 
"Of whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things." Those are Paul’s 

/TO 

words. And what does he add? "To Him be glory." All this is exactly true. He does not 
say, To them; for God is one. And what is meant by, To Him be glory, but to Him be chief 
and perfect and widespread praise? For as the praise improves and extends, so the love and 
affection increases in fervor. And when this is the case, mankind cannot but advance with 
sure and firm step to a life of perfection and bliss. This, I suppose, is all we wish to find 
when we speak of the chief good of man, to which all must be referred in life and conduct. 
For the good plainly exists; and we have shown by reasoning, as far as we were able, and by 
the divine authority which goes beyond our reasoning, that it is nothing else but God 
Himself. For how can any thing be man’s chief good but that in cleaving to which he is 
blessed? Now this is nothing but God, to whom we can cleave only by affection, desire, and 
love. 


63 Rom. xi. 36. 


73 


The Christian Definition of the Four Virtues. 


Chapter 15. — The Christian Definition of the Four Virtues. 

25. As to virtue leading us to a happy life, I hold virtue to be nothing else than perfect 
love of God. For the fourfold division of virtue I regard as taken from four forms of love. 
For these four virtues (would that all felt their influence in their minds as they have their 
names in their mouths!), I should have no hesitation in defining them: that temperance is 
love giving itself entirely to that which is loved; fortitude is love readily bearing all things 
for the sake of the loved object; justice is love serving only the loved object, and therefore 
ruling rightly; prudence is love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and 
what helps it. The object of this love is not anything, but only God, the chief good, the 
highest wisdom, the perfect harmony. So we may express the definition thus: that temper- 
ance is love keeping itself entire and incorrupt for God; fortitude is love bearing everything 
readily for the sake of God; justice is love serving God only, and therefore ruling well all 
else, as subject to man; prudence is love making a right distinction between what helps it 
towards God and what might hinder it. 64 


64 [It would be difficult to find in Christian literature a more beautiful and satisfactory exposition of love to 
God. The Neo-Platonic influence is manifest, but it is Neo-Platonism thoroughly Christianized. — A.H.N.] 


74 



Harmony of the Old and New Testaments. 


Chapter 16. — Harmony of the Old and New Testaments. 

26. I will briefly set forth the manner of life according to these virtues, one by one, after 
I have brought forward, as I promised, passages from the Old Testament parallel to those I 
have been quoting from the New Testament. For is Paul alone in saying that we should be 
joined to God so that there should be nothing between to separate us? Does not the 
prophet say the same most aptly and concisely in the words, "It is good for me to cleave to 
God?" 65 Does not this one word cleave express all that the apostle says at length about 
love? And do not the words, It is good, point to the apostle’s statement, "All things issue in 
good to them that love God?" Thus in one clause and in two words the prophet sets forth 
the power and the fruit of love. 

27. And as the apostle says that the Son of God is the virtue of God and the wisdom of 
God, — virtue being understood to refer to action, and wisdom to teaching (as in the gospel 
these two things are expressed in the words, "All things were made by Him," which belongs 
to action and virtue; and then, referring to teaching and the knowledge of the truth, he says, 
"The life was the light of men" 66 ), — could anything agree better with these passages than 
what is said in the Old Testament of wisdom, "She reaches from end to end in strength, 
and orders all things sweetly?" For reaching in strength expresses virtue, while ordering 
sweetly expresses skill and method. But if this seems obscure, see what follows: "And of 
all," he says, "God loved her; for she teaches the knowledge of God, and chooses His works." 
Nothing more is found here about action; for choosing works is not the same as working, 
so this refers to teaching. There remains action to correspond with the virtue, to complete 
the truth we wish to prove. Read then what comes next: "But if," he says, "the possession 
which is desired in life is honorable, what is more honorable than wisdom, which works all 
things?" Could anything be brought forward more striking or more distinct than this, or 
even more fully expressed? Or, if you wish more, hear another passage of the same meaning. 

/TO 

"Wisdom," he says, "teaches sobriety, and justice, and virtue." Sobriety refers, I think, to 
the knowledge of the truth, or to teaching; justice and virtue to work and action. And I 
know nothing comparable to these two things, that is, to efficiency in action and sobriety 
in contemplation, which the virtue of God and the wisdom of God, that is, the Son of God, 
gives to them that love Him, when the same prophet goes on to show their value; for it is 



65 Ps. lxxiii. 28. 

66 John i. 3, 4. 

67 [Augustin seems to make no distinction between Apocryphal and Canonical books. The book of Wisdom 
was evidently a favorite with him, doubtless on account of its decided Platonic quality. — A.H.N.] 

68 Wisd. viii. 1, 4, 7. 


75 


Harmony of the Old and New Testaments. 


thus stated: "Wisdom teaches sobriety, and justice, and virtue, than which nothing is more 
useful in life to man." 69 

28. Perhaps some may think that those passages do not refer to the Son of God. What, 
then, is taught in the following words: "She displays the nobility of her birth, having her 

nr \ 

dwelling with God?" To what does birth refer but to parentage? And does not dwelling 
with the Father claim and assert equality? Again, as Paul says that the Son of God is the 
wisdom of God, and as the Lord Himself says, "No man knoweth the Father save the only- 
begotten Son," what could be more concordant than those words of the prophet: "With 
Thee is wisdom which knows Thy works, which was present at the time of Thy making the 
world, and knew what would be pleasing in Thine eyes?" And as Christ is called the truth, 
which is also taught by His being called the brightness of the Father 74 (for there is nothing 
round about the sun but its brightness which is produced from it), what is there in the Old 
Testament more plainly and obviously in accordance with this than the words, "Thy truth 
is round about Thee?" Once more, Wisdom herself says in the gospel, "No man cometh 
unto the Father but by me; and the prophet says, "Who knoweth Thy mind, unless Thou 
givest wisdom?" and a little after, "The things pleasing to Thee men have learned, and have 

77 

been healed by wisdom." 

29. Paul says, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which 

70 n (\ 

is given unto us; and the prophet says, "The Holy Spirit of knowledge will shun guile." 


69 Retract, i. 7, § 3: — "The quotation from the book of Wisdom is from my manuscript, where the reading 
is, ‘Wisdom teaches sobriety, justice, and virtue.’ From these words I have made some remarks true in themselves, 
but occasioned by a false reading. It is perfectly true that wisdom teaches truth of contemplation, as I have ex- 
plained sobriety; and excellence of action, which is the meaning I give to justice and virtue. And the reading in 
better manuscripts has the same meaning: ‘It teaches sobriety, and wisdom, and justice, and virtue.’ These are 
the names given by the Latin translator to the four virtues which philosophers usually speak about. Sobriety is 
for temperance, wisdom for prudence, virtue for fortitude, and justice only has its own name. It was long after 
that we found these virtues called by their proper names in the Greek text of this book of Wisdom." 

70 Wisd. viii. 3. 

71 1 Cor. i. 24. 

72 Matt. xi. 27. 

73 Wisd. ix. 9. 

74 Heb. i. 3. 

75 Ps. lxxxix. 8. 

76 John xiv. 6. 

77 Wisd. ix. 17-19. 

78 Rom. v. 5. 

79 Wisd. i. 5. 


76 


Harmony of the Old and New Testaments. 


For where there is guile there is no love. Paul says that we are "conformed to the image of 

on 

the Son of God;" and the prophet says, "The light of Thy countenance is stamped upon 

O 1 

us." Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit is God, and therefore is no creature; and the 
prophet says, "Thou sendest Thy Spirit from the higher." For God alone is the highest, 
than whom nothing is higher. Paul shows that the Trinity is one God, when he says, "To 
Him be glory;" and in the Old Testament it is said, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is 
one God ." 84 


80 Rom. viii. 29. 

81 Ps. iv. 6. 

82 Wisd. ix. 17. 

83 Rom. xi. 36. 


84 Deut. vi. 4. 


77 


Appeal to the Manichceans, Calling on Them to Repent. 


Chapter 17. — Appeal to the Manichaeans, Calling on Them to Repent. 

30. What more do you wish? Why do you resist ignorantly and obstinately? Why do 
you pervert untutored minds by your mischievous teaching? The God of both Testaments 
is one. For as there is an agreement in the passages quoted from both, so is there in all the 
rest, if you are willing to consider them carefully and impartially. But because many expres- 
sions are undignified, and so far adapted to minds creeping on the earth, that they may rise 

o tz 

by human things to divine, while many are figurative, that the inquiring mind may have 
the more profit from the exertion of finding their meaning, and the more delight when it 
is found, you pervert this admirable arrangement of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of de- 
ceiving and ensnaring your followers. As to the reason why divine Providence permits you 
to do this, and as to the truth of the apostle’s saying, "There must needs be many heresies, 

Q /T 

that they which are approved may be made manifest among you," it would take long to 
discuss these things, and you, with whom we have now to do, are not capable of understand- 
ing them. I know you well. To the consideration of divine things, which are far higher than 
you suppose, you bring minds quite gross and sickly, from being fed with material images. 

3 1 . We must therefore in your case try not to make you understand divine things, which 
is impossible, but to make you desire to understand. This is the work of the pure and 
guileless love of God, which is seen chiefly in the conduct, and of which we have already 
said much. This love, inspired by the Holy Spirit, leads to the Son, that is, to the wisdom 
of God, by which the Father Himself is known. For if wisdom and truth are not sought for 
with the whole strength of the mind, it cannot possibly be found. But when it is sought as 
it deserves to be, it cannot withdraw or hide itself from its lovers. Hence its words, which 
you too are in the habit of repeating, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, 

on oo 

and it shall be opened unto you:" "Nothing is hid which shall not be revealed." It is love 
that asks, love that seeks, love that knocks, love that reveals, love, too, that gives continuance 
in what is revealed. From this love of wisdom, and this studious inquiry, we are not debarred 
by the Old Testament, as you always say most falsely, but are exhorted to this with the 
greatest urgency. 

32. Hear, then, at length, and consider, I pray you, what is said by the prophet: "Wisdom 
is glorious, and never fadeth away; yea, she is easily seen of them that love her, and found 


85 [Here we have the key to all that is best in Augustin’s defense of the anthropomorphisms and the seemingly 
imperfect ethical representations of the Old Testament. See Mozley’s essay on "The Manichaeans and the Jewish 
Fathers," in his Ruling Ideas in Early Ages. The entire volume represents an attempt to account for the elements 
in the Old Testament that offend the Christian consciousness. — A.H.N.] 

86 1 Cor. xi. 19. 

87 Matt. vii. 7. 


88 Matt. x. 26. 


78 


Appeal to the Manichceans, Calling on Them to Repent. 


of such as seek her. She preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known unto 
them. Whoso seeketh her early shall have no great travail; for he shall find her sitting at his 
doors. To think, therefore, upon her is perfection of wisdom; and whoso watch eth for her 
shall quickly be without care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, showeth 
herself favorably unto them in the ways, and meeteth them in every thought. For the very 
true beginning of her is the desire of discipline; and the care of discipline is love; and love 
is the keeping of her laws; and the giving heed unto her laws is the assurance of incorruption; 
and incorruption maketh us near unto God. Therefore the desire of wisdom bringeth to a 

on 

kingdom." Will you still continue in dogged hostility to these things? Do not things thus 
stated, though not yet understood, make it evident to every one that they contain something 
deep and unutterable? Would that you could understand the things here said! Forthwith 
you would abjure all your silly legends and your unmeaning material imaginations, and 
with great alacrity, sincere love, and full assurance of faith, would betake yourselves bodily 
to the shelter of the most holy bosom of the Catholic Church. 


89 Wisd. vi. 12-20. 


79 


Only in the Catholic Church is Perfect Truth Established on the Harmony... 


Chapter 18. — Only in the Catholic Church is Perfect Truth Established on the Har- 
mony of Both Testaments. 

33. I could, according to the little ability I have, take up the points separately, and could 
expound and prove the truths I have learned, which are generally more excellent and lofty 
than words can express; but this cannot be done while you bark at it. For not in vain is ft 
said, "Give not that which is holy to dogs.” 90 Do not be angry. I too barked and was a dog; 
and then, as was right, instead of the food of teaching, I got the rod of correction. But were 
there in you that love of which we are speaking, or should ft ever be in you as much as the 
greatness of the truth to be known requires, may God vouchsafe to show you that neither 
is there among the Manichaeans the Christian faith which leads to the summit of wisdom 
and truth, the attainment of which is the true happy life, nor is it anywhere but in the 
Catholic teaching. Is not this what the Apostle Paul appears to desire when he says, "For 
this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole 
family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant unto you, according to the riches 
of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man: that Christ may 
dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to 
comprehend with all saints what is the height, and length, and breadth, and depth, and to 
know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness 
of God?" 91 Could anything be more plainly expressed? 

34. Wake up a little, I beseech you, and see the harmony of both Testaments, making 
it quite plain and certain what should be the manner of life in our conduct, and to what all 
things should be referred. To the love of God we are incited by the gospel, when it is said, 
"Ask, seek, knock;" by Paul, when he says, "That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 

no 

may be able to comprehend;" by the prophet also, when he says that wisdom can easily 
be known by those who love it, seek for it, desire it, watch for it, think about it, care for it. 
The salvation of the mind 94 and the way of happiness is pointed out by the concord of both 
Scriptures; and yet you choose rather to bark at these things than to obey them. I will tell 
you in one word what I think. Do you listen to the learned men of the Catholic Church 
with as peaceable a disposition, and with the same zeal, that I had when for nine years I at- 
tended on you: 95 there will be no need of so long a time as that during which you made a 


90 Matt. vii. 6. 

91 Eph. iii. 14-19. 

92 Matt. vii. 7. 

93 Eph. iii. 7. 

94 [Animi not mentis. — A.H.N.] 
From his 19th to his 28th year. 


95 


80 


Only in the Catholic Church is Perfect Truth Established on the Harmony... 


fool of me. In a much, a very much, shorter time you will see the difference between truth 
and vanity. 


81 



Description of the Duties of Temperance, According to the Sacred Script... 


Chapter 19. — Description of the Duties of Temperance, According to the Sacred 
Scriptures. 

35. It is now time to return to the four virtues, and to draw out and prescribe a way of 
life in conformity with them, taking each separately. First, then, let us consider temperance, 
which promises us a kind of integrity and incorruption in the love by which we are united 
to God. The office of temperance is in restraining and quieting the passions which make 
us pant for those things which turn us away from the laws of God and from the enjoyment 
of His goodness, that is, in a word, from the happy life. For there is the abode of truth; and 
in enjoying its contemplation, and in cleaving closely to it, we are assuredly happy; but de- 
parting from this, men become entangled in great errors and sorrows. For, as the apostle 
says, "The root of all evils is covetousness; which some having followed, have made shipwreck 
of the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 96 And this sin of 
the soul is quite plainly, to those rightly understanding, set forth in the Old Testament in 
the transgression of Adam in Paradise. Thus, as the apostle says, "In Adam we all die, and 
in Christ we shall all rise again." Oh, the depth of these mysteries! But I refrain; for I am 
now engaged not in teaching you the truth, but in making you unlearn your errors, if I can, 
that is, if God aid my purpose regarding you. 

36. Paul then says that covetousness is the root of all evils; and by covetousness the old 
law also intimates that the first man fell. Paul tells us to put off the old man and put on the 

no 

new. By the old man he means Adam who sinned, and by the new man him whom the 
Son of God took to Himself in consecration for our redemption. For he says in another 
place, "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven, heavenly. As 
is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also 
that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, let us also bear the image 
of the heavenly," 99 — that is, put off the old man, and put on the new. The whole duty of 
temperance, then, is to put off the old man, and to be renewed in God, — that is, to scorn all 
bodily delights, and the popular applause, and to turn the whole love to things divine and 
unseen. Hence that following passage which is so admirable: "Though our outward man 
perish, our inward man is renewed day by day." 100 Hear, too, the prophet singing, "Create 



96 1 Tim. vi. 10. 

97 1 Cor. xv. 22. 

98 Col. iii. 9, 10. 

99 1 Cor. xv. 47-49. 
2 Cor. iv. 16. 


100 


82 


Description of the Duties of Temperance, According to the Sacred Script... 


in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me ." 101 What can be said against 
such harmony except by blind barkers? 


101 Ps. li. 10. 


83 


We are Required to Despise All Sensible Things, and to Love God Alone. 


Chapter 20. — We are Required to Despise All Sensible Things, and to Love God 

Alone. 

37. Bodily delights have their source in all those things with which the bodily sense 
comes in contact, and which are by some called the objects of sense; and among these the 
noblest is light, in the common meaning of the word, because among our senses also, which 
the mind uses in acting through the body, there is nothing more valuable than the eyes, and 
so in the Holy Scriptures all the objects of sense are spoken of as visible things. Thus in the 
New Testament we are warned against the love of these things in the following words: 
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for 

i m 

the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 
This shows how far from being Christians those are who hold that the sun and moon are 
to be not only loved but worshipped. For what is seen if the sun and moon are not? But 
we are forbidden to regard things which are seen. The man, therefore, who wishes to offer 
that incorrupt love to God must not love these things too. This subject I will inquire into 
more particularly elsewhere. Here my plan is to write not of faith, but of the life by which 
we become worthy of knowing what we believe. God then alone is to be loved; and all this 
world, that is, all sensible things, are to be despised, — while, however, they are to be used 
as this life requires. 


102 2 Cor. iv. 18. 


84 


Popular Renown and Inquisitiveness are Condemned in the Sacred Scriptur... 


Chapter 21. — Popular Renown and Inquisitiveness are Condemned in the Sacred 
Scriptures. 

38. Popular renown is thus slighted and scorned in the New Testament: "If I wished," 

i m 

says St. Paul, "to please men, I should not be the servant of Christ." Again, there is another 

production of the soul formed by imaginations derived from material things, and called the 
knowledge of things. In reference to this we are fitly warned against inquisitiveness to correct 
which is the great function of temperance. Thus it is said, "Take heed lest any one seduce 
you by philosophy." And because the word philosophy originally means the love and pursuit 
of wisdom, a thing of great value and to be sought with the whole mind, the apostle, with 
great prudence, that he might not be thought to deter from the love of wisdom, has added 
the words, "And the elements of this world." 104 For some people, neglecting virtues, and 
ignorant of what God is, and of the majesty of nature which remains always the same, think 
that they are engaged in an important business when searching with the greatest inquisitive- 
ness and eagerness into this material mass which we call the world. This begets so much 
pride, that they look upon themselves as inhabitants of the heaven of which they often dis- 
course. The soul, then, which purposes to keep itself chaste for God must refrain from the 
desire of vain knowledge like this. For this desire usually produces delusion, so that the 
soul thinks that nothing exists but what is material; or if, from regard to authority, it confesses 
that there is an immaterial existence, it can think of it only under material images, and has 
no belief regarding it but that imposed by the bodily sense. We may apply to this the precept 
about fleeing from idolatry. 

39. To this New Testament authority, requiring us not to love anything in this world, 105 
especially in that passage where it is said, "Be not conformed to this world," 106 — for the 
point is to show that a man is conformed to whatever he loves, — to this authority, then, if 
I seek for a parallel passage in the Old Testament, I find several; but there is one book of 
Solomon, called Ecclesiastes, which at great length brings all earthly things into utter con- 
tempt. The book begins thus: "Vanity of the vain, saith the Preacher, vanity of the vain; all 
is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?" If all 
these words are considered, weighed, and thoroughly examined, many things are found of 
essential importance to those who seek to flee from the world and to take shelter in God; 
but this requires time and our discourse hastens on to other topics. But, after this beginning, 


103 Gal. i. 10. 

104 Col. ii. 8. 

105 1 John ii. 15. 

106 Rom. xii. 2. 
Eccles. i. 2, 3. 


107 


85 


Popular Renown and Inquisitiveness are Condemned in the Sacred Scriptur... 


i ns 

he goes on to show in detail that the vain are those who are deceived by things of this 
sort; and he calls this which deceives them vanity, — not that God did not create those things, 
but because men choose to subject themselves by their sins to those things, which the divine 
law has made subject to them in well-doing. For when you consider things beneath your 
self to be admirable and desirable, what is this but to be cheated and misled by unreal goods? 
The man, then, who is temperate in such mortal and transient things has his rule of life 
confirmed by both Testaments, that he should love none of these things, nor think them 
desirable for their own sakes, but should use them as far as is required for the purposes and 
duties of life, with the moderation of an employer instead of the ardor of a lover. These re- 
marks on temperance are few in proportion to the greatness of the theme, but perhaps too 
many in view of the task on hand. 


108 Retract, i. 7, § 3: — "I found in many manuscripts the reading, ‘Vanity of the vain.’ But this is not in the 
Greek, which has ‘Vanity of vanities.’ This I saw afterwards. And I found that the best Latin manuscripts had 
vanities and not vain. But the truths I have drawn from this false reading are self-evident." 


86 



Fortitude Comes from the Love of God. 


Chapter 22. — Fortitude Comes from the Love of God. 

40. On fortitude we must be brief. The love, then, of which we speak, which ought with 
all sanctity to burn in desire for God, is called temperance, in not seeking for earthly things, 
and fortitude in bearing the loss of them. But among all things which are possessed in this 
life, the body is, by God’s most righteous laws, for the sin of old, man’s heaviest bond, which 
is well known as a fact but most incomprehensible in its mystery. Lest this bond should be 
shaken and disturbed, the soul is shaken with the fear of toil and pain; lest it should be lost 
and destroyed, the soul is shaken with the fear of death. For the soul loves it from the force 
of habit, not knowing that by using it well and wisely its resurrection and reformation will, 
by the divine help and decree, be without any trouble made subject to its authority. But 
when the soul turns to God wholly in this love, it knows these things, and so will not only 
disregard death, but will even desire it. 

41. Then there is the great struggle with pain. But there is nothing, though of iron 
hardness, which the fire of love cannot subdue. And when the mind is carried up to God 
in this love, it will soar above all torture free and glorious, with wings beauteous and unhurt, 
on which chaste love rises to the embrace of God. Otherwise God must allow the lovers of 
gold, the lovers of praise, the lovers of women, to have more fortitude than the lovers of 
Himself, though love in those cases is rather to be called passion or lust. And yet even here 
we may see with what force the mind presses on with unflagging energy, in spite of all alarms, 
towards that it loves; and we learn that we should bear all things rather than forsake God, 
since those men bear so much in order to forsake Him. 


87 



Scripture Precepts and Examples of Fortitude. 


Chapter 23. — Scripture Precepts and Examples of Fortitude. 

42. Instead of quoting here authorities from the New Testament, where it is said, 
"Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience and experience, hope;" 109 and 
where, in addition to these words, there is proof and confirmation of them from the example 
of those who spoke them; I will rather summon an example of patience from the Old Test- 
ament, against which the Manichaeans make fierce assaults. Nor will I refer to the man who, 
in the midst of great bodily suffering, and with a dreadful disease in his limbs, not only bore 
human evils, but discoursed of things divine. Whoever gives considerate attention to the 
utterances of this man, will learn from every one of them what value is to be attached to 
those things which men try to keep in their power, and in so doing are themselves brought 
by passion into bondage, so that they become the slaves of mortal things, while seeking ig- 
norantly to be their masters. This man, in the loss of all his wealth, and on being suddenly 
reduced to the greatest poverty, kept his mind so unshaken and fixed upon God, as to 
manifest that these things were not great in his view, but that he was great in relation to 
them, and God to him. 110 If this mind were to be found in men in our day, we should not 
be so strongly cautioned in the New Testament against the possession of these things in 
order that we may be perfect; for to have these things without cleaving to them is much 
more admirable than not to have them at all. * * 111 

43. But since we are speaking here of bearing pain and bodily sufferings, I pass from 
this man, great as he was, indomitable as he was: this is the case of a man. But these Scrip- 
tures present to me a woman of amazing fortitude, and I must at once go on to her case. 
This woman, along with seven children, allowed the tyrant and executioner to extract her 
vitals from her body rather than a profane word from her mouth, encouraging her sons by 
her exhortations, though she suffered in the tortures of their bodies, and was herself to un- 
dergo what she called on them to bear. What patience could be greater than this? And 
yet why should we be astonished that the love of God, implanted in her inmost heart, bore 
up against tyrant, and executioner, and pain, and sex, and natural affection? Had she not 
heard, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints?" Had she not heard, 


109 Rom. v. 3, 4. 

110 Job. i. 2. 

111 [It is interesting to observe how remote Augustin was from attaching superior merit to voluntary poverty, 
or to other forms of asceticism as ends in themselves. What he prized was the ability to use without abusing, 
to have without cleaving to the good things which God provides. — A.H.N.] 

112 2 Mac. vii. 


113 Ps. cxvi. 15. 


88 


Scripture Precepts and Examples of Fortitude. 


"A patient man is better than the mightiest?" 114 Had she not heard, "All that is appointed 
thee receive; and in pain bear it; and in abasement keep thy patience: for in fire are gold 
and silver tried?" 1 15 Had she not heard, "The fire tries the vessels of the potter, and for just 
men is the trial of tribulation?" 116 These she knew, and many other precepts of fortitude 
written in these books, which alone existed at that time, by the same divine Spirit who writes 
those in the New Testament. 


114 Prov. xvi. 32. 

115 Ecclus. ii. 4, 5. 

116 Ecclus. xxvii. 6. 


89 


Of Justice and Prudence. 


Chapter 24. — Of Justice and Prudence. 

44. What of justice that pertains to God? As the Lord says, "Ye cannot serve two mas- 
ters," and the apostle denounces those who serve the creature rather than the Creator, 
was it not said before in the Old Testament, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and 
Him only shalt thou serve?" 1 19 I need say no more on this, for these books are full of such 
passages. The lover, then, whom we are describing, will get from justice this rule of life, that 
he must with perfect readiness serve the God whom he loves, the highest good, the highest 
wisdom, the highest peace; and as regards all other things, must either rule them as subj ect 
to himself, or treat them with a view to their subjection. This rule of life, is, as we have 
shown, confirmed by the authority of both Testaments. 

45. With equal brevity we must treat of prudence, to which it belongs to discern between 
what is to be desired and what to be shunned. Without this, nothing can be done of what 
we have already spoken of. It is the part of prudence to keep watch with most anxious vigil- 
ance, lest any evil influence should stealthily creep in upon us. Thus the Lord often exclaims, 
"Watch;" and He says, "Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you." 
And then it is said, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" And no 
passage can be quoted from the Old Testament more expressly condemning this mental 
somnolence, which makes us insensible to destruction advancing on us step by step, than 
those words of the prophet, "He who despiseth small things shall fall by degrees." 124 On 
this topic I might discourse at length did our haste allow of it. And did our present task 
demand it, we might perhaps prove the depth of these mysteries, by making a mock of which 
profane men in their perfect ignorance fall, not certainly by degrees, but with a headlong 
overthrow. 


117 Matt. vi. 24. 

118 Rom. i. 25. 

119 Deut. vi. 13. 

120 A name given by Augustin to the Holy Spirit, v. xxx. 

121 Matt. xxiv. 42. 

122 Johnxii. 35. 

123 1 Cor. v. 6. 

124 Ecclus. xix. 1. 


90 


Four Moral Duties Regarding the Love of God, of Which Love the Reward is... 


Chapter 25. — Four Moral Duties Regarding the Love of God, of Which Love the 

Reward is Eternal Life and the Knowledge of the Truth. 

46. I need say no more about right conduct. For if God is man’s chief good, which you 
cannot deny, it clearly follows, since to seek the chief good is to live well, that to live well is 
nothing else but to love God with all the heart, with all the soul, with all the mind; and, as 
arising from this, that this love must be preserved entire and incorrupt, which is the part of 
temperance; that it give way before no troubles, which is the part of fortitude; that it serve 
no other, which is the part of justice; that it be watchful in its inspection of things lest craft 
or fraud steal in, which is the part of prudence. This is the one perfection of man, by which 
alone he can succeed in attaining to the purity of truth. This both Testaments enjoin in 
concert; this is commended on both sides alike. Why do you continue to cast reproaches 
on Scriptures of which you are ignorant? Do you not see the folly of your attack upon books 
which only those who do not understand them find fault with, and which only those who 
find fault fail in understanding? For neither can an enemy know them, nor can one who 
knows them be other than a friend to them. 

47. Let us then, as many as have in view to reach eternal life, love God with all the heart, 
with all the soul, with all the mind. For eternal life contains the whole reward in the promise 
of which we rejoice; nor can the reward precede desert, nor be given to a man before he is 
worthy of it. What can be more unjust than this, and what is more just than God? We 
should not then demand the reward before we deserve to get it. Here, perhaps, it is not out 
of place to ask what is eternal life; or rather let us hear the Bestower of it: "This," He says, 

"is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast 

IOC 

sent." So eternal life is the knowledge of the truth. See, then, how perverse and prepos- 
terous is the character of those who think that their teaching of the knowledge of God will 
make us perfect, when this is the reward of those already perfect! What else, then, have we 

1 O/T 

to do but first to love with full affection Him whom we desire to know? Hence arises 
that principle on which we have all along insisted, that there is nothing more wholesome 

1 97 

in the Catholic Church than using authority before argument. 

55 


125 John xvii. 3. 

126 Retract, i. 7. § 4: — "I should have said sincere affection rather than full; or it might be thought that the 
love of God will be no greater when we shall see Him face to face. Full, then, must be here understood as 
meaning that it cannot be greater while we walk by faith. There will be greater, yea, perfect fullness, but only 
by sight." 

127 [By authority Augustin does not mean the authority of the Church or of Scripture, but he refers to the 
loving recognition of the authority of God as the condition of true discipleship. — A.H.N.] 


91 


Love of Ourselves and of Our Neighbor. 


Chapter 26. — Love of Ourselves and of Our Neighbor. 

48. To proceed to what remains. It may be thought that there is nothing here about 
man himself, the lover. But to think this, shows a want of clear perception. For it is im- 
possible for one who loves God not to love himself. For he alone has a proper love for 
himself who aims diligently at the attainment of the chief and true good; and if this is 
nothing else but God, as has been shown, what is to prevent one who loves God from loving 
himself? And then, among men should there be no bond of mutual love? Yea, verily; so 
that we can think of no surer step towards the love of God than the love of man to man. 

49. Let the Lord then supply us with the other precept in answer to the question about 
the precepts of life; for He was not satisfied with one as knowing that God is one thing and 
man another, and that the difference is nothing less than that between the Creator and the 
thing created in the likeness of its Creator. He says then that the second precept is, "Thou 
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Now you love yourself suitably when you love God 
better than yourself. What, then, you aim at in yourself you must aim at in your neighbor, 
namely, that he may love God with a perfect affection. For you do not love him as yourself, 
unless you try to draw him to that good which you are yourself pursuing. For this is the 
one good which has room for all to pursue it along with thee. From this precept proceed 
the duties of human society, in which it is hard to keep from error. But the first thing to 
aim at is, that we should be benevolent, that is, that we cherish no malice and no evil design 
against another. For man is the nearest neighbor of man. 

1 9Q 

50. Hear also what Paul says: "The love of our neighbor," he says, "worketh no ill." 

The testimonies here made use of are very short, but, if I mistake not, they are to the point, 

and sufficient for the purpose. And every one knows how many and how weighty are the 

words to be found everywhere in these books on the love of our neighbor. But as a man 

may sin against another in two ways, either by injuring him or by not helping him when it 

is in his power, and as it is for these things which no loving man would do that men are 

called wicked, all that is required is, I think, proved by these words, "The love of our neighbor 

worketh no ill." And if we cannot attain to good unless we first desist from working evil, 

our love of our neighbor is a sort of cradle of our love to God, so that, as it is said, "the love 

of our neighbor worketh no ill," we may rise from this to these other words, "We know that 

1 

all things issue in good to them that love God." 

51. But there is a sense in which these either rise together to fullness and perfection, 
or, while the love of God is first in beginning, the love of our neighbor is first in coming to 
perfection. For perhaps divine love takes hold on us more rapidly at the outset, but we reach 


128 Matt. xxii. 39. 

129 Rom. xiii. 10. 


130 Rom. viii. 28. 


92 


Love of Ourselves and of Our Neighbor. 


perfection more easily in lower things. However that may be, the main point is this, that 
no one should think that while he despises his neighbor he will come to happiness and to 
the God whom he loves. And would that it were as easy to seek the good of our neighbor, 
or to avoid hurting him, as it is for one well trained and kind-hearted to love his neighbor! 
These things require more than mere good-will, and can be done only by a high degree of 
thoughtfulness and prudence, which belongs only to those to whom it is given by God, the 
source of all good. On this topic — which is one, I think, of great difficulty — I will try to say 
a few words such as my plan admits of, resting all my hope in Him whose gifts these are. 


93 



On Doing Good to the Body of Our Neighbor. 


Chapter 27. — On Doing Good to the Body of Our Neighbor. 

52. Man, then, as viewed by his fellow-man, is a rational soul with a mortal and earthly 
body in its service. Therefore he who loves his neighbor does good partly to the man’s body, 
and partly to his soul. What benefits the body is called medicine; what benefits the soul, 
discipline. Medicine here includes everything that either preserves or restores bodily health. 
It includes, therefore, not only what belongs to the art of medical men, properly so called, 
but also food and drink, clothing and shelter, and every means of covering and protection 
to guard our bodies against injuries and mishaps from without as well as from within. For 
hunger and thirst, and cold and heat, and all violence from without, produce loss of that 
health which is the point to be considered. 

53. Hence those who seasonably and wisely supply all the things required for warding 
off these evils and distresses are called compassionate, although they may have been so wise 

i o 1 

that no painful feeling disturbed their mind in the exercise of compassion. No doubt 
the word compassionate implies suffering in the heart of the man who feels for the sorrow 
of another. And it is equally true that a wise man ought to be free from all painful emotion 
when he assists the needy, when he gives food to the hungry and water to the thirsty, when 
he clothes the naked, when he takes the stranger into his house, when he sets free the op- 
pressed, when, lastly, he extends his charity to the dead in giving them burial. Still the epithet 
compassionate is a proper one, although he acts with tranquillity of mind, not from the 
stimulus of painful feeling, but from motives of benevolence. There is no harm in the word 
compassionate when there is no passion in the case. 

54. Fools, again, who avoid the exercise of compassion as a vice, because they are not 
sufficiently moved by a sense of duty without feeling also distressful emotion, are frozen 
into hard insensibility, which is very different from the calm of a rational serenity. God, on 
the other hand, is properly called compassionate; and the sense in which He is so will be 
understood by those whom piety and diligence have made fit to understand. There is a 
danger lest, in using the words of the learned, we harden the souls of the unlearned by 
leading them away from compassion instead of softening them with the desire of a charitable 
disposition. As compassion, then, requires us to ward off these distresses from others, so 
harmlessness forbids the infliction of them. 


131 Retract, i. 7. § 4: — "This does not mean that there are actually in this life wise men such as are here spoken 
of. My words are not, ‘although they are so wise,’ but ‘although they were so wise.’" [Augustin’s ideal wise man 
was evidendy the "Gnostic" of Clement of Alexandria. The conception is Stoical and Neo-Platonic. — A.H.N.] 

94 



On Doing Good to the Soul of Our Neighbor. Two Parts of Discipline, Restraint... 


Chapter 28. — On Doing Good to the Soul of Our Neighbor. Two Parts of Discipline, 

Restraint and Instruction. Through Good Conduct We Arrive at the Knowledge 

of the Truth. 

55. As regards discipline, by which the health of the mind is restored, without which 
bodily health avails nothing for security against misery, the subject is one of great difficulty. 
And as in the body we said it is one thing to cure diseases and wounds, which few can do 
properly, and another thing to meet the cravings of hunger and thirst, and to give assistance 
in all the other ways in which any man may at any time help another; so in the mind there 
are some things in which the high and rare offices of the teacher are not much called for, — as, 
for instance, in advice and exhortation to give to the needy the things already mentioned 
as required for the body. To give such advice is to aid the mind by discipline, as giving the 
things themselves is aiding the body by our resources. But there are other cases where dis- 
eases of the mind, many and various in kind, are healed in a way strange and indescribable. 
Unless His medicine were sent from heaven to men, so heedlessly do they go on in sin, there 
would be no hope of salvation; and, indeed, even bodily health, if you go to the root of the 
matter, can have come to men from none but God, who gives to all things their being and 
their well-being. 

56. This discipline, then, which is the medicine of the mind, as far as we can gather 
from the sacred Scriptures, includes two things, restraint and instruction. Restraint implies 
fear, and instruction love, in the person benefited by the discipline; for in the giver of the 
benefit there is the love without the fear. In both of these God Himself, by whose goodness 
and mercy it is that we are anything, has given us in the two Testaments a rule of discipline. 
For though both are found in both Testaments, still fear is prominent in the Old, and love 
in the New; which the apostle calls bondage in the one, and liberty in the other. Of the 
marvellous order and divine harmony of these Testaments it would take long to speak, and 
many pious and learned men have discoursed on it. The theme demands many books to 
set it forth and explain it as far as is possible for man. He, then, who loves his neighbor en- 
deavors all he can to procure his safety in body and in soul, making the health of the mind 
the standard in his treatment of the body. And as regards the mind, his endeavors are in 
this order, that he should first fear and then love God. This is true excellence of conduct, 
and thus the knowledge of the truth is acquired which we are ever in the pursuit of. 

57. The Manichaeans agree with me as regards the duty of loving God and our neighbor, 
but they deny that this is taught in the Old Testament. How greatly they err in this is, I 
think, clearly shown by the passages quoted above on both these duties. But, in a single 
word, and one which only stark madness can oppose, do they not see the unreasonableness 
of denying that these very two precepts which they commend are quoted by the Lord in the 
Gospel from the Old Testament, "Thou shah love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 


95 



On Doing Good to the Sold of Our Neighbor. Two Parts of Discipline, Restraint... 


with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;" and the other, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 
thyself?" Or if they dare not deny this, from the light of truth being too strong for them, 
let them deny that these precepts are salutary; let them deny, if they can, that they teach the 
best morality; let them assert that it is not a duty to love God, or to love our neighbor; that 
all things do not issue in good to them that love God; that it is not true that the love of our 
neighbor worketh no ill (a two-fold regulation of human life which is most salutary and 
excellent). By such assertions they cut themselves off not only from Christians, but from 
mankind. But if they dare not speak thus, but must confess the divinity of the precepts, why 
do they not desist from assailing and maligning with horrible profanity the books from 
which they are quoted? 

58. Will they say, as they often do, that although we find these precepts in the books, 
it does not follow that all is good that is found there? How to meet and refute this quibble 
I do not well see. Shall I discuss the words of the Old Testament one by one, to prove to 
stubborn and ignorant men their perfect agreement with the New Testament? But when 
will this be done? When shall I have time, or they patience? What, then, is to be done? 
Shall I desert the cause, and leave them to escape detection in an opinion which, though 
false and impious, is hard to disprove? I will not. God will Himself be at hand to aid me; 
nor will He suffer me in those straits to remain helpless or forsaken. 


132 Deut. vi. 5; Lev. xix. 18; Matt. xxii. 37, 39. 


96 


Of the Authority of the Scriptures. 


Chapter 29. — Of the Authority of the Scriptures. 

59. Attend, then, ye Manichaeans, if perchance there are some of you of whom your 
superstition has hold so as to allow you yet to escape. Attend, I say, without obstinacy, 
without the desire to oppose, otherwise your decision will be fatal to yourselves. No one 
can doubt, and you are not so lost to the truth as not to understand that if it is good, as all 
allow, to love God and our neighbor, whatever hangs on these two precepts cannot rightly 
be pronounced bad. What it is that hangs on them it would be absurd to think of learning 
from me. Hear Christ Himself; hear Christ, I say; hear the Wisdom of God: "On these two 

1 oo 

commandments," He says, "hang all the law and the prophets." 

60. What can the most shameless obstinacy say to this? That these are not Christ’s 
words? But they are written in the Gospel as His words. That the writing is false? Is not 
this most profane blasphemy? Is it not most presumptuous to speak thus? Is it not most 
foolhardy? Is it not most criminal? The worshippers of idols, who hate even the name of 
Christ, never dared to speak thus against these Scriptures. For the utter overthrow of all 
literature will follow, and there will be an end to all books handed down from the past, if 
what is supported by such a strong popular belief and established by the uniform testimony 
of so many men and so many times, is brought into such suspicion, that it is not allowed to 
have the credit and the authority of common history. In fine, what can you quote from any 
writings of which I may not speak in this way if it is quoted against my opinion and my 
purpose? 134 

61. And is it not intolerable that they forbid us to believe a book widely known and 
placed now in the hands of all, while they insist on our believing the book which they quote? 
If any writing is to be suspected, what should be more so than one which has not merited 
notoriety, or which may be throughout a forgery, bearing a false name? If you force such 
a writing on me against my will, and make a display of authority to drive me into belief, 
shall I, when I have a writing which I see spread far and wide for a length of time, and 
sanctioned by the concordant testimony of churches scattered over all the world, degrade 
myself by doubting, and, worse degradation, by doubting at your suggestion? Even if you 
brought forward other readings, I should not receive them unless supported by general 
agreement; and this being the case, do you think that now, when you bring forward nothing 
to compare with the text except your own silly and inconsiderate statement, mankind are 
so unreasonable and so forsaken by divine Providence as to prefer to those Scriptures not 
others quotedby you in refutation, but merely your own words? You ought to bring forward 
another manuscript with the same contents, but incorrupt and more correct, with only the 


133 Matt. xxii. 40. 

1 34 [The strong testimony borne by Augustin against the perverse subjective criticism of the Manichaens has 
an important application to the present time. — A.H.N.] 


97 


Of the Authority of the Scriptures. 


passage wanting which you charge with being spurious. For example, if you hold that the 
Epistle of Paul to the Romans is spurious, you must bring forward another incorrupt, or 
rather another manuscript with the same epistle of the same apostle, free from error and 
corruption. You say you will not, lest you be suspected of corrupting it. This is your usual 
reply, and a true one. Were you to do this, we should assuredly have this very suspicion; 
and all men of any sense would have it too. See then what you are to think of your own 
authority; and consider whether it is right to believe your words against these Scriptures, 
when the simple fact that a manuscript is brought forward by you makes it dangerous to 
put faith in it. 


98 



The Church Apostrophised as Teacher of All Wisdom. Doctrine of the Catholic... 


Chapter 30. — The Church Apostrophised as Teacher of All Wisdom. Doctrine of 

the Catholic Church. 

62. But why say more on this? For who but sees that men who dare to speak thus against 
the Christian Scriptures, though they may not be what they are suspected of being, are at 
least no Christians? For to Christians this rule of life is given, that we should love the Lord 
Our God with all the heart, with all the soul, and with all the mind, and our neighbor as 
ourselves; for on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Rightly, then, 
Catholic Church, most true mother of Christians, dost thou not only teach that God alone, 
to find whom is the happiest life, must be worshipped in perfect purity and chastity, bringing 
in no creature as an object of adoration whom we should be required to serve; and from 
that incorrupt and inviolable eternity to which alone man should be made subject, in 
cleaving to which alone the rational soul escapes misery, excluding everything made, 
everything liable to change, everything under the power of time; without confounding what 
eternity, and truth, and peace itself keeps separate, or separating what a common majesty 
unites: but thou dost also contain love and charity to our neighbor in such a way, that for 
all kinds of diseases with which souls are for their sins afflicted, there is found with thee a 
medicine of prevailing efficacy. 

63. Thy training and teaching are childlike for children, forcible for youths, peaceful 
for the aged, taking into account the age of the mind as well as of the body. Thou subjectest 
women to their husbands in chaste and faithful obedience, not to gratify passion, but for 

i oc 

the propagation of offspring, and for domestic society. Thou givest to men authority 
over their wives, not to mock the weaker sex, but in the laws of unfeigned love. Thou dost 
subordinate children to their parents in a kind of free bondage, and dost set parents over 
their children in a godly rule. Thou bindest brothers to brothers in a religious tie stronger 
and closer than that of blood. Without violation of the connections of nature and of choice, 
thou bringest within the bond of mutual love every relationship of kindred, and every alliance 
of affinity. Thou teachest servants to cleave to their masters from delight in their task rather 
than from the necessity of their position. Thou renderest masters forbearing to their servants, 
from a regard to God their common Master, and more disposed to advise than to compel. 
Thou unitest citizen to citizen, nation to nation, yea, man to man, from the recollection of 
their first parents, not only in society but in fraternity. Thou teachest kings to seek the good 
of their peoples; thou counsellest peoples to be subject to their kings. Thou teachest carefully 
to whom honor is due, to whom regard, to whom reverence, to whom fear, to whom con- 


135 [This view of the marriage relation seems to have been almost universal in the ancient Church. Tertullian 

and Clement of Alexandria are fond of dwelling upon it. For Augustin’s views more fully stated see his De Bono 
Conjugali , 6. See also an interesting excursus on "Continence in Married Life" in Cunningham’s St. Austin, p. 
168. sq. — A.H.N.] 


99 



The Church Apostrophised as Teacher of All Wisdom. Doctrine of the Catholic... 


solation, to whom admonition, to whom encouragement, to whom discipline, to whom re- 
buke, to whom punishment; showing both how all are not due to all, and how to all love is 

1 '3 

due, and how injury is due to none. 

64. Then, after this human love has nourished and invigorated the mind cleaving to 
thy breast, and fitted it for following God, when the divine majesty has begun to disclose 
itself as far as suffices for man while a dweller on the earth, such fervent charity is produced, 
and such a flame of divine love is kindled, that by the burning out of all vices, and by the 
purification and sanctification of the man, it becomes plain how divine are these words, "I 

i on i in 

am a consuming fire," and, "I have come to send fire on the earth." These two utterances 
of one God stamped on both Testaments, exhibit with harmonious testimony, the sanctific- 
ation of the soul, pointing forward to the accomplishment of that which is also quoted in 
the New Testament from the Old: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy 

i on 

sting? Where, O death, is thy contest?" Could these heretics understand this one saying, 
no longer proud but quite reconciled, they would worship God nowhere but with thee and 
in thy bosom. In thee, as is fit, divine precepts are kept by widely- scattered multitudes. In 
thee, as is fit, it is well understood how much more heinous sin is when the law is known 
than when it is unknown. For "the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law," 140 


136 [If this apostrophe had been addressed to "Christianity" rather than to the "Catholic Church," no Chris- 
tian could fail to see in it one of the noblest tributes ever bestowed on the religion of Christ. Augustin identified 
Christianity with the organized body which was far from realizing the ideal that he here sets forth. As an apo- 
strophe to ideal Christianity nothing could be finer. — A.H.N.] 

137 Deut. iv. 24. Retract, i. 7, § 5: — "The Pelagians may think that I have spoken of perfection as attainable 
in this life. But they must not think so. For the fervor of charity which is fitted for following God, and of force 
enough to consume all vices, can have its origin and growth in this life; but it does not follow that it can here 
accomplish the purpose of its origin, so that no vice shall remain in the man; although this great effect is produced 
by this same fervor of charity, when and where this is possible, that as the laver of regeneration purifies from 
the guilt of all the sins which attach to man’s birth, or come from his evil conduct, so this perfection may purify 
him from all stain from the vices which necessarily attend human infirmity in this world. So we must understand 
the words of the apostle: ‘Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it; cleansing it with the washing of water 
by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such 
thing’ (Eph. v. 25-27). For in this world there is the washing of water by the word which purifies the Church. 
But as the whole Church, as long as it is here, says, ‘Forgive us our debts,’ it certainly is not while here without 
spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but from that which it here receives, it is led on to the glory which is not 
here, and to perfection." 

138 Lukexii. 49. 

139 Hos. xiii. 14; 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55. 

140 1 Cor. xv. 56. 


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The Church Apostrophised as Teacher of All Wisdom. Doctrine of the Catholic... 


which adds to the force with which the consciousness of disregard of the precept strikes and 
slays. In thee it is seen, as is fit, how vain is effort under the law, when lust lays waste the 
mind, and is held in check by fear of punishment, instead of being overborne by the love of 
virtue. Thine, as is fit, are the many hospitable, the many friendly, the many compassionate, 
the many learned, the many chaste, the many saints, the many so ardent in their love to 
God, that in perfect continence and amazing indifference to this world they find happiness 
even in solitude. 


101 



The Life of the Anachoretes and Coenobites Set Against the Continence of... 


Chapter 3 1 . — The Life of the Anachoretes and Coenobites Set Against the Continence 

of the Manichaeans. 

65. What must we think is seen by those who can live without seeing their fellow- 
creatures, though not without loving them? It must be something transcending human 
things in contemplating which man can live without seeing his fellow-man. Hear now, ye 
Manichaeans, the customs and notable continence of perfect Christians, who have thought 
it right not only to praise but also to practise the height of chastity, that you maybe restrained, 
if there is any shame in you, from vaunting your abstinence before uninstructed minds as 
if it were the hardest of all things. I will speak of things of which you are not ignorant, 
though you hide them from us. For who does not know that there is a daily increasing 
multitude of Christian men of absolute continence spread all over the world, especially in 
the East and in Egypt, as you cannot help knowing? 

66. I will say nothing of those to whom I just now alluded, who, in complete seclusion 
from the view of men, inhabit regions utterly barren, content with simple bread, which is 
brought to them periodically, and with water, enjoying communion with God, to whom in 
purity of mind they cleave, and most blessed in contemplating His beauty, which can be 
seen only by the understanding of saints. I will say nothing of them, because some people 
think them to have abandoned human things more than they ought, not considering how 
much those may benefit us in their minds by prayer, and in their lives by example, whose 
bodies we are not permitted to see. But to discuss this point would take long, and would 
be fruitless; for if a man does not of his own accord regard this high pitch of sanctity as ad- 
mirable and honorable, how can our speaking lead him to do so? Only the Manichaeans, 
who make a boast of nothing, should be reminded that the abstinence and continence of 
the great saints of the Catholic Church has gone so far, that some think it should be checked 
and recalled within the limits of humanity, — so far above men, even in the judgment of 
those who disapprove, have their minds soared. 

67. But if this is beyond our tolerance, who can but admire and commend those who, 
slighting and discarding the pleasures of this world, living together in a most chaste and 
holy society, unite in passing their time in prayers, in readings, in discussions, without any 
swelling of pride, or noise of contention, or sullenness of envy; but quiet, modest, peaceful, 
their life is one of perfect harmony and devotion to God, an offering most acceptable to 
Him from whom the power to do those things is obtained? No one possesses anything of 
his own; no one is a burden to another. They work with their hands in such occupations 
as may feed their bodies without distracting their minds from God. The product of their 
toil they give to the decans or tithesmen, — so called from being set over the tithes, — so that 
no one is occupied with the care of his body, either in food or clothes, or in anything else 
required for daily use or for the common ailments. These decans, again, arranging everything 
with great care, and meeting promptly the demands made by that life on account of bodily 


102 



The Life of the Anachoretes and Coenobites Set Against the Continence of... 


infirmities, have one called "father," to whom they give in their accounts. These fathers are 
not only more saintly in their conduct, but also distinguished for divine learning, and of 
high character in every way; and without pride they superintend those whom they call their 
children, having themselves great authority in giving orders, and meeting with willing 
obedience from those under their charge. At the close of the day they assemble from their 
separate dwellings before their meal to hear their father, assembling to the number of three 
thousand at least for one father; for one may have even a much larger number than this. 
They listen with astonishing eagerness in perfect silence, and give expression to the feelings 
of their minds as moved by the words of the preacher, in groans, or tears, or signs of joy 
without noise or shouting. Then there is refreshment for the body, as much as health and 
a sound condition of the body requires, every one checking unlawful appetite, so as not to 
go to excess even in the poor, inexpensive fare provided. So they not only abstain from flesh 
and wine, in order to gain the mastery over their passions, but also from those things which 
are only the more likely to whet the appetite of the palate and of the stomach, from what 
some call their greater cleanness, which often serves as a ridiculous and disgraceful excuse 
for an unseemly taste for exquisite viands, as distant from animal food. Whatever they 
possess in addition to what is required for their support (and much is obtained, owing to 
their industry and frugality), they distribute to the needy with greater care than they took 
in procuring it for themselves. For while they make no effort to obtain abundance, they 
make every effort to prevent their abundance remaining with them, — so much so, that they 
send shiploads to places inhabited by poor people. I need say no more on a matter known 
to all. 141 

68. Such, too, is the life of the women, who serve God assiduously and chastely, living 
apart and removed as far as propriety demands from the men, to whom they are united only 
in pious affection and in imitation of virtue. No young men are allowed access to them, 
nor even old men, however respectable and approved, except to the porch, in order to furnish 
necessary supplies. For the women occupy and maintain themselves by working in wool, 
and hand over the cloth to the brethren, from whom, in return, they get what they need for 
food. Such customs, such a life, such arrangements, such a system, I could not commend 
as it deserves, if I wished to commend it; besides, I am afraid that it would seem as if I thought 
it unlikely to gain acceptance from the mere description of it, if I considered myself obliged 
to add an ornamental eulogium to the simple narrative. Ye Manichaeans, find fault here if 
you can. Do not bring into prominence our tares before men too blind to discriminate. 


141 [This picture of coenobitic life, even in its purest form, is doubtless idealized. It is certain that the mon- 
asteries very soon became hot-beds of vice, and the refuge of the scum of society. — A.H.N.] 


103 



Praise of the Clergy. 


Chapter 32. — Praise of the Clergy. 

69. There is not, however, such narrowness in the moral excellence of the Catholic 
Church as that I should limit my praise of it to the life of those here mentioned. For how 
many bishops have I known most excellent and holy men, how many presbyters, how many 
deacons, and ministers of all kinds of the divine sacraments, whose virtue seems to me more 
admirable and more worthy of commendation on account of the greater difficulty of pre- 
serving it amidst the manifold varieties of men, and in this life of turmoil! For they preside 
over men needing cure as much as over those already cured. The vices of the crowd must 
be borne with in order that they may be cured, and the plague must be endured before it is 
subdued. To keep here the best way of life and a mind calm and peaceful is very hard. Here, 
in a word, we are among people who are learning to live. There they live. 


104 



Another Kind of Men Living Together in Cities. Fasts of Three Days. 


Chapter 33. — Another Kind of Men Living Together in Cities. Fasts of Three Days. 

70. Still I would not on this account cast a slight upon a praiseworthy class of Christi- 
ans, — those, namely, who live together in cities, quite apart from common life. I saw at 
Milan a lodging-house of saints, in number not a few, presided over by one presbyter, a man 
of great excellence and learning. At Rome I knew several places where there was in each 
one eminent for weight of character, and prudence, and divine knowledge, presiding over 
all the rest who lived with him, in Christian charity, and sanctity, and liberty. These, too, 
are not burdensome to any one; but, in the Eastern fashion, and on the authority of the 
Apostle Paul, they maintain themselves with their own hands. I was told that many practised 
fasts of quite amazing severity, not merely taking only one meal daily towards night, which 
is everywhere quite common, but very often continuing for three days or more in succession 
without food or drink. And this among not men only, but women, who also live together 
in great numbers as widows or virgins, gaining a livelihood by spinning and weaving, and 
presided over in each case by a woman of the greatest judgment and experience, skilled and 
accomplished not only in directing and forming moral conduct, but also in instructing the 
understanding. 1 42 

71. With all this, no one is pressed to endure hardships for which he is unfit; nothing 
is imposed on any one against his will; nor is he condemned by the rest because he confesses 
himself too feeble to imitate them: for they bear in mind how strongly Scripture enjoins 
charity on all: they bear in mind "To the pure all things are pure," 143 and "Not that which 
entereth into your mouth defileth you, but that which cometh out of it." 144 Accordingly, 
all their endeavors are concerned not about the rejection of kinds of food as polluted, but 
about the subjugation of inordinate desire and the maintenance of brotherly love. They 
remember, "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and 
them;" 145 and again, "Neither if we eat shall we abound, nor if we refrain from eating shall 
we be in want;" 146 and, above all, this: "It is good, my brethren, not to eat flesh, nor drink 
wine, nor anything whereby thy brother is offended;" for this passage shows that love is the 
end to be aimed at in all these things. "For one man," he says, "believes that he can eat all 
things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. He that eateth, let him not despise him that 
eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath approved 


142 [Augustin ascribes a broadmindedness and charitableness to the ascetics of his time which was doubtless 
quite subjective. The ascetics of that age with whose history we are acquainted were not of this type. Jerome is 
an example. — A.H.N.] 

143 Tit. i. 15. 

144 Matt.xv.il. 

145 1 Cor. vi. 13. 

146 1 Cor. viii. 8. 

105 


Another Kind of Men Living Together in Cities. Fasts of Three Days. 


him. Who art thou that thou shouldest judge another man’s servant? To his own master 
he stands or fails; but he shall stand: for God is able to make him to stand." And a little 
after: "He that eateth, to the Lord he eateth, and giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, 
to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." And also in what follows: "So every one 
of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not, then, any more judge one another: 
but judge this rather, that ye place no stumbling-block, or cause of offence, in the way of a 
brother. I know, and am confident in the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing common in itself: 
but to him that thinketh anything to be common, to him it is common." Could he have 
shown better that it is not in the things we eat, but in the mind, that there is a power able 
to pollute it, and therefore that even those who are fit to think lightly of these things, and 
know perfectly that they are not polluted if they take any food in mental superiority, without 
being gluttons, should still have regard to charity? See what he adds: "For if thy brother be 
grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably." 147 

72. Read the rest: it is too long to quote all. You will find that those able to think lightly 
of such things, — that is, those of greater strength and stability, — are told that they must 
nevertheless abstain, lest those should be offended who from their weakness are still in need 
of such abstinence. The people I was describing know and observe these things; for they 
are Christians, not heretics. They understand Scripture according to the apostolic teaching, 
not according to the presumptuous and fictitious name of apostle. Him that eats not no 
one despises; him that eats no one judges; he who is weak eats herbs. Many who are strong, 
however, do this for the sake of the weak; with many the reason for so doing is not this, but 
that they may have a cheaper diet, and may lead a life of the greatest tranquillity, with the 
least expensive provision for the support of the body. "For all things are lawful for me," he 
says; "but I will not be brought under the power of any." 149 Thus many do not eat flesh, 
and yet do not superstitiously regard it as unclean. And so the same people who abstain 
when in health take it when unwell without any fear, if it is required as a cure. Many drink 
no wine; but they do not think that wine defiles them; for they cause it to be given with the 
greatest propriety and moderation to people of languid temperament, and, in short, to all 
who cannot have bodily health without it. When some foolishly refuse it, they counsel them 
as brothers not to let a silly superstition make them weaker instead of making them holier. 
They read to them the apostle’s precept to his disciple to "take a little wine for his many in- 
firmities." 150 Then they diligently exercise piety; bodily exercise, they know, profiteth for 
a short time, as the same apostle says. 151 


147 Rom. xiv. 2-21. 

148 See title of the Epistle of Manichaeus, Contra Faust, xiii. 4. 

149 1 Cor. vi. 12. 

150 1 Tim. v. 23. 

1 Tim. iv. 8. 


151 


106 


Another Kind of Men Living Together in Cities. Fasts of Three Days. 


73. Those, then who are able, and they are without number, abstain both from flesh 
and from wine for two reasons: either for the weakness of their brethren, or for their own 
liberty. Charity is principally attended to. There is charity in their choice of diet, charity 
in their speech, charity in their dress, charity in their looks. Charity is the point where they 
meet, and the plan by which they act. To transgress against charity is thought criminal, like 
transgressing against God. Whatever opposes this is attacked and expelled; whatever injures 
it is not allowed to continue for a single day. They know that it has been so enjoined by 
Christ and the apostles; that without it all things are empty, with it all are fulfilled. 


107 



The Church is Not to Be Blamed for the Conduct of Bad Christians, Worshippers... 


Chapter 34. — The Church is Not to Be Blamed for the Conduct of Bad Christians, 

Worshippers of Tombs and Pictures. 

74. Make objections against these, ye Manichaeans, if you can. Look at these people, 
and speak of them reproachfully, if you dare, without falsehood. Compare their fasts with 
your fasts, their chastity with yours; compare them to yourselves in dress, food, self-restraint, 
and, lastly, in charity. Compare, which is most to the point, their precepts with yours. Then 
you will see the difference between show and sincerity, between the right way and the wrong, 
between faith and imposture, between strength and inflatedness, between happiness and 
wretchedness, between unity and disunion; in short, between the sirens of superstition and 
the harbor of religion. 

75. Do not summon against me professors of the Christian name, who neither know 

nor give evidence of the power of their profession. Do not hunt up the numbers of ignor- 

ant people, who even in the true religion are superstitious, or are so given up to evil passions 
as to forget what they have promised to God. I know that there are many worshippers of 
tombs and pictures. I know that there are many who drink to great excess over the dead, 
and who, in the feasts which they make for corpses, bury themselves over the buried, and 
give to their gluttony and drunkenness the name of religion. I know that there are many 
who in words have renounced this world, and yet desire to be burdened with all the weight 
of worldly things, and rejoice in such burdens. Nor is it surprising that among so many 
multitudes you should find some by condemning whose life you may deceive the unwary 
and seduce them from Catholic safety; for in your small numbers you are at a loss when 
called on to show even one out of those whom you call the elect who keeps the precepts, 
which in your indefensible superstition you profess. How silly those are, how impious, how 
mischievous, and to what extent they are neglected by most, nearly all of you, I have shown 
in another volume. 

76. My advice to you now is this: that you should at least desist from slandering the 
Catholic Church, by declaiming against the conduct of men whom the Church herself 
condemns, seeking daily to correct them as wicked children. Then, if any of them by good 
will and by the help of God are corrected, they regain by repentance what they had lost by 
sin. Those, again, who with wicked will persist in their old vices, or even add to them others 
still worse, are indeed allowed to remain in the field of the Lord, and to grow along with the 


152 [Augustin says nothing of the encouragement given to such pagan practices by men regarded in that 
age as possessed of almost superhuman sanctity, such as Sulpicius Severus, Paulinus of Nola, etc. He speaks of 
corruptions as if they were exceptional, whereas they seem to have been the rule. Yet there is force in his con- 
tention that Christianity be judged by its best products rather than by the worst elements associated with 
it.— A.H.N.] 


108 



The Church is Not to Be Blamed for the Conduct of Bad Christians, Worshippers... 


1 

good seed; but the time for separating the tares will come. Or if, from their having at 
least the Christian name, they are to be placed among the chaff rather than among thistles, 
there will also come One to purge the floor and to separate the chaff from the wheat, and 
to assign to each part (according to its desert) the due reward . 154 


153 [Augustin’s ideal representation of Christianity and his identification of the organized Catholic Church 
with Christianity is quite inconsistent with the practice of the Church which he here seeks to justify. No duty 
is more distinctly enjoined upon believers in the New Testament than separation from unbelievers and evil 
doers. But such separation is impracticable in an established Church such as that to which Augustin rejoiced 
to belong. — A.H.N.] 

154 Matt. iii. 13, and xiii. 24-43. 


109 


Marriage and Property Allowed to the Baptized by the Apostles. 


Chapter 35. — Marriage and Property Allowed to the Baptized by the Apostles. 

77. Meanwhile, why do you rage? why does party spirit blind your eyes? Why do you 
entangle yourselves in a long defence of such great error? Seek for fruit in the field, seek 
for wheat in the floor: they will be found easily, and will present themselves to the inquirer. 
Why do you look so exclusively at the dross? Why do you use the roughness of the hedge 
to scare away the inexperienced from the fatness of the garden? There is a proper entrance, 
though known to but a few; and by it men come in, though you disbelieve it, or do not wish 
to find it. In the Catholic Church there are believers without number who do not use the 
world, and there are those who "use it," in the words of the apostle, "as not using it," 155 as 
was proved in those times when Christians were forced to worship idols. For then, how 
many wealthy men, how many peasant householders, how many merchants, how many 
military men, how many leading men in their own cities, and how many senators, people 
of both sexes, giving up all these empty and transitory things, though while they used them 
they were not bound down by them, endured death for the salutary faith and religion, and 
proved to unbelievers that instead of being possessed by all these things they really possessed 
them? 

78. Why do you reproach us by saying that men renewed in baptism ought no longer 
to beget children, or to possess fields, and houses, and money? Paul allows it. For, as cannot 
be denied, he wrote to believers, after recounting many kinds of evil-doers who shall not 
possess the kingdom of God: "And such were you," he says: "but ye are washed, but ye are 
sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our 
God." By the washed and sanctified, no one, assuredly, will venture to think any are meant 
but believers, and those who have renounced this world. But, after showing to whom he 
writes, let us see whether he allows these things to them. He goes on: "All things are lawful 
for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought 
under the power of any. Meat for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God will destroy 
both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for 
the body. But God raised up the Lord, and will raise us up also by His own power. Know 
ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, 
and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. Know ye not that he which is j oined 
to an harlot is made one body? for the twain, saith He, shall be one flesh. But he that is 
joined to the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Whatever sin a man doeth is without the 
body: but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Know ye not that 
your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and 
ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a great price: glorify God, and carry Him in 


155 1 Cor. vii. 31. 


110 


Marriage and Property Allowed to the Baptized by the Apostles. 


your body." 156 "But of the things concerning which ye wrote to me: it is good for a man 
not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, 
and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due 
benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her 
own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, 
but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may 
have leisure for prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incon- 
tinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all 
men were even as I myself: but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, 

1 CH 

and another after that." 

79. Has the apostle, think you, both shown sufficiently to the strong what is highest, 
and permitted to the weaker what is next best? Not to touch a woman he shows is highest 
when he says, "I would that all men were even as I myself." But next to this highest is conjugal 
chastity, that man may not be the prey of fornication. Did he say that these people were 
not yet believers because they were married? Indeed, by this conjugal chastity he says that 
those who are united are sanctified by one another, if one of them is an unbeliever, and that 
their children also are sanctified. "The unbelieving husband," he says, "is sanctified by the 
believing wife, and the unbelieving woman by the believing husband: otherwise your children 
would be unclean; but now are they holy." Why do you persist in opposition to such 
plain truth? Why do you try to darken the light of Scripture by vain shadows? 

80. Do not say that catechumens are allowed to have wives, but not believers; that cat- 
echumens may have money, but not believers. For there are many who use as not using. 
And in that sacred washing the renewal of the new man is begun so as gradually to reach 
perfection, in some more quickly, in others more slowly. The progress, however, to a new 
life is made in the case of many, if we view the matter without hostility, but attentively. As 
the apostle says of himself, "Though the outward man perish, the inward man is renewed 
day by day." 159 The apostle says that the inward man is renewed day by day that it may 
reach perfection; and you wish it to begin with perfection! And it were well if you did wish 
it. In reality, you aim not at raising the weak, but at misleading the unwary. You ought not 
to have spoken so arrogantly, even if it were known that you are perfect in your childish 
precepts. But when your conscience knows that those whom you bring into your sect, when 
they come to a more intimate acquaintance with you, will find many things in you which 
nobody hearing you accuse others would suspect, is it not great impertinence to demand 


156 1 Cor. vi. 11-20. 

157 1 Cor. vii. 1-7. 

158 1 Cor. vii. 14. 

2 Cor. iv. 16. 


159 


111 


Marriage and Property Allowed to the Baptized by the Apostles. 


perfection in the weaker Catholics, to turn away the inexperienced from the Catholic Church, 
while you show nothing of the kind in yourself to those thus turned away? But not to seem 
to inveigh against you without reason, I will now close this volume, and will proceed at last 
to set forth the precepts of your life and your notable customs. 


112 



On the Morals of the Manichceans. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

IN 

65 

ON THE 

MORALS OF THE M ANICHTE AN S . 

[DE MORIBUS MANICHiEORUM]. 

A.D. 388. 

TRANSLATED BY THE 

REV. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A., 

BOMBAY 


113 



Argument. 


On the Morals of the Manichaeans. 

[De Moribus Manichseorum.] a.d. 388. 

Containing a particular refutation of the doctrine of these heretics regarding the origin and 
nature of evil; an exposure of their pretended symbolical customs of the mouth, of the 
hands, and of the breast; and a condemnation of their superstitious abstinence and unholy 
mysteries. Lastly, some crimes brought to light among the Manichaeans are mentioned. 


114 



The Supreme Good is that Which is Possessed of Supreme Existence. 


Chapter 1. — The Supreme Good is that Which is Possessed of Supreme Existence. 

1. Every one, I suppose, will allow that the question of things good and evil belongs to 
moral science, in which such terms are in common use. It is therefore to be wished that 
men would bring to these inquiries such a clear intellectual perfection as might enable them 
to see the chief good, than which nothing is better or higher, next in order to which comes 
a rational soul in a state of purity and perfection. 160 If this were clearly understood, it 
would also become evident that the chief good is that which is properly described as having 
supreme and original existence. For that exists in the highest sense of the word which 
continues always the same, which is throughout like itself, which cannot in any part be 
corrupted or changed, which is not subject to time, which admits of no variation in its 
present as compared with its former condition. This is existence in its true sense. For in 
this signification of the word existence there is implied a nature which is self-contained, 
and which continues immutably. Such things can be said only of God, to whom there is 
nothing contrary in the strict sense of the word. For the contrary of existence is non-exist- 
ence. There is therefore no nature contrary to God. But since the minds with which we 
approach the study of these subjects have their vision damaged and dulled by silly notions, 
and by perversity of will, let us try as we can to gain some little knowledge of this great 
matter by degrees and with caution, making our inquiries not like men able to see, but like 
men groping the dark. 


160 This statement has a complete parallel in Clement of Alexandria, and along with what follows, is Neo- 
Platonic. — A.H.N.] 


115 



What Evil is. That Evil is that Which is Against Nature. In Allowing This, . . . 


Chapter 2. — What Evil is. That Evil is that Which is Against Nature. In Allowing 

This, the Manichseans Refute Themselves. 

2. You Manichaeans often, if not in every case, ask those whom you try to bring over 
to your heresy, Whence is evil? Suppose I had now met you for the first time, I would ask 
you, if you please, to follow my example in putting aside for a little the explanation you 
suppose yourselves to have got of these subjects, and to commence this great inquiry with 
me as if for the first time. You ask me, Whence is evil? I ask you in return, What is evil? 
Which is the more reasonable question? Are those right who ask whence a thing is, when 
they do not know what it is; or he who thinks it necessary to inquire first what it is, in order 
to avoid the gross absurdity of searching for the origin of a thing unknown? Your answer 
is quite correct, when you say that evil is that which is contrary to nature; for no one is so 
mentally blind as not to see that, in every kind, evil is that which is contrary to the nature 
of the kind. But the establishment of this doctrine is the overthrow of your heresy. For evil 
is no nature, if it is contrary to nature. Now, according to you, evil is a certain nature and 
substance. Moreover, whatever is contrary to nature must oppose nature and seek its de- 
struction. For nature means nothing else than that which anything is conceived of as being 
in its own kind. Hence is the new word which we now use derived from the word for be- 
ing, — essence namely, or, as we usually say, substance, — while before these words were in 
use, the word nature was used instead. Here, then, if you will consider the matter without 
stubbornness, we see that evil is that which falls away from essence and tends to non-exist- 
ence. 

3. Accordingly, when the Catholic Church declares that God is the author of all natures 
and substances, those who understand this understand at the same time that God is not the 
author of evil. For how can He who is the cause of the being of all things be at the same 
time the cause of their not being, — that is, of their falling off from essence and tending to 
non-existence? For this is what reason plainly declares to be the definition of evil. Now, 
how can that race of evil of yours, which you make the supreme evil, be against nature, that 
is, against substance, when it, according to you, is itself a nature and substance? For if it 
acts against itself, it destroys its own existence; and when that is completely done, it will 
come at last to be the supreme evil. But this cannot be done, because you will have it not 
only to be, but to be everlasting. That cannot then be the chief evil which is spoken of as a 
substance. 161 

4. But what am I to do? I know that many of you can understand nothing of all this. 

I know, too, that there are some who have a good understanding and can see these things, 


161 [On Augustin’s view of negativity of evil and on the relation of this view to Neo-Platonism, see Introduc- 

tion, chapter IX. Augustin’s view seems to exclude the permanence of evil in the world, and so everlasting 
punishment and everlasting rebellion against God. — A.H.N.] 


116 



What Evil is. That Evil is that Which is Against Nature. In Allowing This, . . . 


and yet are so stubborn in their choice of evil, — a choice that will ruin their understanding 
as well, — that they try rather to find what reply they can make in order to impose upon in- 
active and feeble minds, instead of giving their assent to the truth. Still I shall not regret 
having written either what one of you may come some day to consider impartially, and be 
led to abandon your error, or what men of understanding and in allegiance to God, and 
who are still untainted with your errors, may read and so be kept from being led astray by 
your addresses. 


117 



If Evil is Defined as that Which is Hurtful, This Implies Another Refutation. . . 


Chapter 3. — If Evil is Defined as that Which is Hurtful, This Implies Another Refut- 
ation of the Manichseans. 

5. Let us then inquire more carefully, and, if possible, more plainly. I ask you again, 
What is evil? If you say it is that which is hurtful, here, too, you will not answer amiss. But 
consider, I pray you; be on your guard, I beg of you; be so good as to lay aside party spirit, 
and make the inquiry for the sake of finding the truth, not of getting the better of it. Whatever 
is hurtful takes away some good from that to which it is hurtful; for without the loss of good 
there can be no hurt. What, I appeal to you, can be plainer than this? what more intelligible? 
What else is required for complete demonstration to one of average understanding, if he is 
not perverse? But, if this is granted, the consequence seems plain. In that race which you 
take for the chief evil, nothing can be liable to be hurt, since there is no good in it. But if, 
as you assert, there are two natures, — the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness; 
since you make the kingdom of light to be God, attributing to it an uncompounded nature, 
so that it has no part inferior to another, you must grant, however decidedly in opposition 
to yourselves, you must grant, nevertheless, that this nature, which you not only do not deny 
to be the chief good, but spend all your strength in trying to show that it is so, is immutable, 
incorruptible, impenetrable, inviolable, for otherwise it would not be the chief good; for the 
chief good is that than which there is nothing better, and for such a nature to be hurt is 
impossible. Again, if, as has been shown, to hurt is to deprive of good, there can be no hurt 
to the kingdom of darkness, for there is no good in it. And as the kingdom of light cannot 
be hurt, as it is inviolable, what can the evil you speak of be hurtful to? 


162 [It is probable that Mani thought of the Kingdom of Light pantheistically, and that the principles person- 

ified in his mythological system were the result of efforts on his part to connect the infinite with the fi- 
nite.— A.H.N.] 


118 



The Difference Between What is Good in Itself and What is Good by Parti... 


Chapter 4. — The Difference Between What is Good in Itself and What is Good by 

Participation. 

6. Now, compare with this perplexity, from which you cannot escape, the consistency 
of the statements in the teaching of the Catholic Church, according to which there is one 
good which is good supremely and in itself, and not by the participation of any good, but 
by its own nature and essence; and another good which is good by participation, and by 
having something bestowed. Thus it has its being as good from the supreme good, which, 
however, is still self-contained, and loses nothing. This second kind of good is called a 
creature, which is liable to hurt through falling away. But of this falling away God is not 
the author, for He is author of existence and of being. Here we see the proper use of the 
word evil; for it is correctly applied not to essence, but to negation or loss. We see, too, what 
nature it is which is liable to hurt. This nature is not the chief evil, for when it is hurt it loses 
good; nor is it the chief good, for its falling away from good is because it is good not intrins- 
ically, but by possessing the good. And a thing cannot be good by nature when it is spoken 
of as being made, which shows that the goodness was bestowed. Thus, on the one hand, 
God is the good, and all things which He has made are good, though not so good as He who 
made them. For what madman would venture to require that the works should equal the 
workman, the creatures the Creator? What more do you want? Could you wish for anything 
plainer than this? 


119 



If Evil is Defined to Be Corruption, This Completely Refutes the Manichcean. . . 


Chapter 5. — If Evil is Defined to Be Corruption, This Completely Refutes the 

Manichsean Heresy. 

7. I ask a third time, What is evil? Perhaps you will reply, Corruption. Undeniably this 
is a general definition of evil; for corruption implies opposition to nature, and also hurt. 
But corruption exists not by itself, but in some substance which it corrupts; for corruption 
itself is not a substance. So the thing which it corrupts is not corruption, is not evil; for what 
is corrupted suffers the loss of integrity and purity. So that which has no purity to lose 
cannot be corrupted; and what has, is necessarily good by the participation of purity. Again, 
what is corrupted is perverted; and what is perverted suffers the loss of order, and order is 
good. To be corrupted, then, does not imply the absence of good; for in corruption it can 
be deprived of good, which could not be if there was the absence of good. Therefore that 
race of darkness, if it was destitute of all good, as you say it was, could not be corrupted, for 
it had nothing which corruption could take from it; and if corruption takes nothing away, 
it does not corrupt. Say now, if you dare, that God and the kingdom of God can be corrupted, 
when you cannot show how the kingdom of the devil, such as you make it, can be corrupted. 


120 



What Corruption Affects and What It is. 


Chapter 6. — What Corruption Affects and What It is. 

8. What further does the Catholic light say? What do you suppose, but what is the ac- 
tual truth, that it is the created substance which can be corrupted, for the uncreated, which 
is the chief good, is incorruptible; and corruption, which is the chief evil, cannot be corrupted; 
besides, that it is not a substance? But if you ask what corruption is, consider to what it 
seeks to bring the things which it corrupts; for it affects those things according to its own 
nature. Now all things by corruption fall away from what they were, and are brought to 
non-continuance, to non-existence; for existence implies continuance. Thus the supreme 
and chief existence is so called because it continues in itself, or is self-contained. In the case 
of a thing changing for the better, the change is not from continuance, but from perversion 
to the worse, that is, from falling away from essence; the author of which falling away is not 
He who is the author of the essence. So in some things there is change for the better, and 
so a tendency towards existence. And this change is not called a perversion, but reversion 
or conversion; for perversion is opposed to orderly arrangement. Now things which tend 
towards existence tend towards order, and, attaining order they attain existence, as far as 
that is possible to a creature. For order reduces to a certain uniformity that which it arranges; 
and existence is nothing else than being one. Thus, so far as anything acquires unity, so far 
it exists. For uniformity and harmony are the effects of unity, and by these compound things 
exist as far as they have existence. For simple things exist by themselves, for they are one. 
But things not simple imitate unity by the agreement of their parts; and so far as they attain 
this, so far they exist. This arrangement is the cause of existence, disorder of non-existence; 
and perversion or corruption are the other names for disorder. So whatever is corrupted 
tends to non-existence. You may now be left to reflect upon the effect of corruption, that 
you may discover what is the chief evil; for it is that which corruption aims at accomplishing. 


121 



The Goodness of God Prevents Corruption from Bringing Anything to Non-Existence. ... 


Chapter 7. — The Goodness of God Prevents Corruption from Bringing Anything 

to Non-Existence. The Difference Between Creating and Forming. 

9. But the goodness of God does not permit the accomplishment of this end, but so 
orders all things that fall away that they may exist where their existence is most suitable, till 
in the order of their movements they return to that from which they fell away. Thus, 
when rational souls fall away from God, although they possess the greatest amount of free- 
will, He ranks them in the lower grades of creation, where their proper place is. So they 
suffer misery by the divine judgment, while they are ranked suitably to their deserts. Hence 
we see the excellence of that saying which you are always inveighing against so strongly, "I 
make good things, and create evil things." 164 To create is to form and arrange. So in some 
copies it is written, "I make good things and form evil things." To make is used of things 
previously not in existence; but to form is to arrange what had some kind of existence, so 
as to improve and enlarge it. Such are the things which God arranges when He says, "I form 
evil things," meaning things which are falling off, and so tending to non-existence, — not 
things which have reached that to which they tend. For it has been said, Nothing is allowed 
in the providence of God to go the length of non-existence. 165 

10. These things might be discussed more fully and at greater length, but enough has 
been said for our purpose in dealing with you. We have only to show you the gate which 
you despair of finding, and make the uninstructed despair of it too. You can be made to 
enter only by good-will, on which the divine mercy bestows peace, as the song in the Gospel 
says, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good-will." 166 It is enough, 
I say, to have shown you that there is no way of solving the religious question of good and 
evil, unless whatever is, as far as it is, is from God; while as far as it falls away from being it 
is not of God, and yet is always ordered by Divine Providence in agreement with the whole 
system. If you do not yet see this, I know nothing else that I can do but to discuss the things 
already said with greater particularity. For nothing save piety and purity can lead the mind 
to greater things. 


163 In Retract, i. 7, § 6, it is said: "This must not be understood to mean that all things return to that from 
which they fell away, as Origen believed, but only those which do return. Those who shall be punished in 
everlasting fire do not return to God, from whom they fell away. Still they are in order as existing in punishment 
where their existence is most suitable." [This does not really meet the difficulty suggested on a preceding 
page. — A.H.N.] 

164 Isa. xlv. 7. 

165 [That is to say nothing is absolutely evil, and conversely what is absolutely evil is ipso facto non-exist- 
ent.— A.H.N.] 

166 Luke ii. 14. 


122 


Evil is Not a Substance, But a Disagreement Hostile to Substance. 


Chapter 8. — Evil is Not a Substance, But a Disagreement Hostile to Substance. 

11. For what other answer will you give to the question, What is evil? but either that it 
is against nature, or that it is hurtful, or that it is corruption, or something similar? But I 
have shown that in these replies you make shipwreck of your cause, unless, indeed, you will 
answer in the childish way in which you generally speak to children, that evil is fire, poison, 
a wild beast, and so on. For one of the leaders of this heresy, whose instructions we attended 
with great familiarity and frequency, used to say with reference to a person who held that 
evil was not a substance, "I should like to put a scorpion in the man’s hand, and see whether 
he would not withdraw his hand; and in so doing he would get a proof, not in words but in 
the thing itself, that evil is a substance, for he would not deny that the animal is a substance." 
He said this not in the presence of the person, but to us, when we repeated to him the remark 
which had troubled us, giving, as I said, a childish answer to children. For who with the 
least tincture of learning or science does not see that these things hurt by disagreement with 
the bodily temperament, while at other times they agree with it, so as not only not to hurt, 
but to produce the best effects? For if this poison were evil in itself, the scorpion itself would 
suffer first and most. In fact, if the poison were quite taken from the animal, it would die. 
So for its body it is evil to lose what it is evil for our body to receive; and it is good for it to 
have what it is good for us to want. Is the same thing then both good and evil? By no means; 
but evil is what is against nature, for this is evil both to the animal and to us. This evil is the 
disagreement, which certainly is not a substance, but hostile to substance. Whence then is 
it? See what it leads to, and you will learn, if any inner light lives in you. It leads all that it 
destroys to non-existence. Now God is the author of existence; and there is no existence 
which, as far as it is existing, leads to non-existence: Thus we learn whence disagreement 
is not; as to whence it is, nothing can be said. 

12. We read in history of a female criminal in Athens, who succeeded in drinking the 
quantity of poison allotted as a fatal draught for the condemned with little or no injury to 
her health, by taking it at intervals. So being condemned, she took the poison in the pre- 
scribed quantity like the rest, but rendered it powerless by accustoming herself to it, and 
did not die like the rest. And as this excited great wonder, she was banished. If poison is 
an evil, are we to think that she made it to be no evil to her? What could be more absurd 
than this? But because disagreement is an evil, what she did was to make the poisonous 
matter agree with her own body by a process of habituation. For how could she by any 
amount of cunning have brought it about that disagreement should not hurt her? Why so? 
Because what is truly and properly an evil is hurtful both always and to all. Oil is beneficial 
to our bodies, but very much the opposite to many six- footed animals. And is not hellebore 
sometimes food, sometimes medicine, and sometimes poison. Does not every one maintain 
that salt taken in excess is poisonous? And yet the benefits to the body from salt are innu- 
merable and most important. Sea- water is injurious when drunk by land animals, but it is 


123 



Evil is Not a Substance, But a Disagreement Hostile to Substance. 


most suitable and useful to many who bathe their bodies in it and to fish it is useful and 
wholesome in both ways. Bread nourishes man, but kills hawks. And does not mud itself, 
which is offensive and noxious when swallowed or smelt, serve as cooling to the touch in 
hot weather, and as a cure for wounds from fire? What can be nastier than dung, or more 
worthless than ashes? And yet they are of such use to the fields, that the Romans thought 
divine honors due to the discoverer, Stercutio, from whose name the word for dung [stercus] 
is derived. 

13. But why enumerate details which are countless? We need not go farther than the 
four elements themselves, which, as every one knows, are beneficial when there is agreement, 
and bitterly opposed to nature when there is disagreement in the objects acted upon. We 
who live in air die under earth or under water, while innumerable animals creep alive in 
sand or loose earth, and fish die in our air. Fire consumes our bodies, but, when suitably 
applied, it both restores from cold, and expels diseases without number. The sun to which 
you bow the knee, and than which, indeed, there is no fairer object among visible things, 
strengthens the eyes of eagles, but hurts and dims our eyes when we gaze on it; and yet we 
too can accustom ourselves to look upon it without injury. Will you, then, allow the sun to 
be compared to the poison which the Athenian woman made harmless by habituating herself 
to it? Reflect for once, and consider that if a substance is an evil because it hurts some one, 
the light which you worship cannot be acquitted of this charge. See the preferableness of 
making evil in general to consist in this disagreement, from which the sun’s ray produces 
dimness in the eyes, though nothing is pleasanter to the eyes than light. 


167 [The reasoning here is admirably adapted to Augustin’s purpose, which is to refute the Manichaean notion 
of the evil nature of material substance. — A.H.N.] 


124 



The Manichcean Fictions About Things Good and Evil are Not Consistent with... 


Chapter 9. — The Manichsean Fictions About Things Good and Evil are Not Consist- 
ent with Themselves. 

14. I have said these things to make you cease, if that is possible, giving the name of 
evil to a region boundless in depth and length; to a mind wandering through the region; to 
the five caverns of the elements, — one full of darkness, another of waters, another of winds, 
another of fire, another of smoke; to the animals born in each of these elements, — serpents 
in the darkness, swimming creatures in the waters, flying creatures in the winds, quadrupeds 
in the fire, bipeds in the smoke. For these things, as you describe them, cannot be called 
evil; for all such things, as far as they exist, must have their existence from the most high 
God, for as far as they exist they are good. If pain and weakness is an evil, the animals you 
speak of were of such physical strength that their abortive offspring, after, as your sect be- 
lieves, the world was formed of them, fell from heaven to earth, according to you, and could 
not die. If blindness is an evil, they could see; if deafness, they could hear. If to be nearly 
or altogether dumb is an evil, their speech was so clear and intelligible, that, as you assert, 
they decided to make war against God in compliance with an address delivered in their as- 
sembly. If sterility is an evil, they were prolific in children. If exile is an evil, they were in 
their own country, and occupied their own territories. If servitude is an evil, some of them 
were rulers. If death is an evil, they were alive, and the life was such that, by your statement, 
even after God was victorious, it was impossible for the mind ever to die. 

15. Can you tell me how it is that in the chief evil so many good things are to be found, 
the opposites of the evils above mentioned? and if these are not evils, can any substance be 
an evil, as far as it is a substance? If weakness is not an evil, can a weak body be an evil? If 
blindness is not an evil, can darkness be an evil? If deafness is not an evil, can a deaf man 
be an evil? If dumbness is not an evil, can a fish be an evil? If sterility is not an evil, how 
can we call a barren animal an evil? If exile is not an evil, how can we give that name to an 
animal in exile, or to an animal sending some one into exile? If servitude is not an evil, in 
what sense is a subject animal an evil, or one enforcing subjection? If death is not an evil, 
in what sense is a mortal animal an evil, or one causing death? Or if these are evils, must 
we not give the name of good things to bodily strength, sight, hearing, persuasive speech, 
fertility, native land, liberty, life, all which you hold to exist in that kingdom of evil, and yet 
venture to call it the perfection of evil? 

16. Once more, if, as has never been denied, unsuitableness is an evil, what can be more 
suitable than those elements to their respective animals, — the darkness to serpents, the waters 
to swimming creatures, the winds to flying creatures, the fire to voracious animals, the 
smoke to soaring animals? Such is the harmony which you describe as existing in the race 
of strife; such the order in the seat of confusion. If what is hurtful is an evil, I do not repeat 
the strong objection already stated, that no hurt can be suffered where no good exists; but 
if that is not so clear, one thing at least is easily seen and understood as following from the 


125 



The Manichcean Fictions About Things Good and Evil are Not Consistent with... 


acknowledged truth, that what is hurtful is an evil. The smoke in that region did not hurt 
bipeds: it produced them, and nourished and sustained them without injury in their birth, 
their growth, and their rule. But now, when the evil has some good mixed with it, the smoke 
has become more hurtful, so that we, who certainly are bipeds, instead of being sustained 
by it, are blinded, and suffocated, and killed by it. Could the mixture of good have given 
such destructiveness to evil elements? Could there be such confusion in the divine govern- 
ment? 

17. In the other cases, at least, how is it that we find that congruity which misled your 
author and induced him to fabricate falsehoods? Why does darkness agree with serpents, 
and waters with swimming creatures, and winds with flying creatures, though the fire burns 
up quadrupeds, and smoke chokes us? Then, again, have not serpents very sharp sight, and 
do they not love the sunshine, and abound most where the calmness of the air prevents the 
clouds from gathering much or often? How very absurd that the natives and lovers of 
darkness should live most comfortably and agreeably where the clearest light is enjoyed! 
Or if you say that it is the heat rather than the light that they enjoy, it would be more reas- 
onable to assign to fire serpents, which are naturally of rapid motion, than the slow-going 
asp. Besides, all must admit that light is agreeable to the eyes of the asp, for they are 
compared to an eagle’s eyes. But enough of the lower animals. Let us, I pray, attend to what 
is true of ourselves without persisting in error, and so our minds shall be disentangled from 
silly and mischievous falsehoods. For is it not intolerable perversity to say that in the race 
of darkness, where there was no mixture of light, the biped animals had so sound and strong, 
so incredible force of eyesight, that even in their darkness they could see the perfectly pure 
light (as you represent it) of the kingdom of God? for, according to you, even these beings 
could see this light, and could gaze at it, and study it, and delight in it, and desire it; whereas 
our eyes, after mixture with light, with the chief good, yea, with God, have become so tender 
and weak, that we can neither see anything in the dark, nor bear to look at the sun, but, after 
looking, lose sight of what we could see before. 

18. The same remarks are applicable if we take corruption to be an evil, which no one 
doubts. The smoke did not corrupt that race of animals, though it corrupts animals now. 
Not to go over all the particulars, which would be tedious, and is not necessary, the living 
creatures of your imaginary description were so much less liable to corruption than animals 
are now, that their abortive and premature offspring, cast headlong from heaven to earth, 
both lived and were productive, and could band together again, having, forsooth, their ori- 
ginal vigor, because they were conceived before good was mixed with the evil; for, after this 
mixture, the animals born are, according to you, those which we now see to be very feeble 
and easily giving way to corruption. Can any one persist in the belief of error like this, unless 


168 [The text has asinum in this sentence but aspidem in the next. The former is a mistake. — A.H.N.] 


126 



The Manichcean Fictions About Things Good and Evil are Not Consistent with... 


he fails to see these things, or is affected by your habit and association in such an amazing 
way as to be proof against all the force of reasoning? 


127 



Three Moral Symbols Devised by the Manichceans for No Good. 


Chapter 10. — Three Moral Symbols Devised by the Manichseans for No Good. 

19. Now that I have shown, as I think, how much darkness and error is in your opinions 
about good and evil things in general, let us examine now those three symbols which you 
extol so highly, and boast of as excellent observances. What then are those three symbols? 
That of the mouth, that of the hands, and that of the breast. What does this mean? That 
man, we are told, should be pure and innocent in mouth, in hands, and in breast. But what 
if he sins with eyes, ears, or nose? What if he hurts some one with his heels, or perhaps kills 
him? How can he be reckoned criminal when he has not sinned with mouth, hands, or 
breast? But, it is replied, by the mouth we are to understand all the organs of sense in the 
head; by the hands, all bodily actions; by the breast, all lustful tendencies. To what, then, 
do you assign blasphemies? To the mouth or to the hand? For blasphemy is an action of 
the tongue. And if all actions are to be classed under one head, why should you join together 
the actions of the hands and the feet, and not those of the tongue. Do you wish to separate 
the action of the tongue, as being for the purpose of expressing something, from actions 
which are not for this purpose, so that the symbol of the hands should mean abstinence 
from all evil actions which are not for the purpose of expressing something? But then, what 
if some one sins by expressing something with his hands, as is done in writing or in some 
significant gesture? This cannot be assigned to the tongue and the mouth, for it is done by 
the hands. When you have three symbols of the mouth, the hands, and the breast, it is quite 
inadmissible to charge against the mouth sins found in the hands. And if you assign action 
in general to the hands, there is no reason for including under this the action of the feet and 
not that of the tongue. Do you see how the desire of novelty, with its attendant error, lands 
you in great difficulties? For you find it impossible to include purification of all sins in these 
three symbols, which you set forth as a kind of new classification. 


128 



The Value of the Symbol of the Mouth Among the Manichceans, Who are Found... 


Chapter 11. — The Value of the Symbol of the Mouth Among the Manichaeans, Who 

are Found Guilty of Blaspheming God. 

20. Classify as you please, omit what you please, we must discuss the doctrines you insist 
upon most. You say that the symbol of the mouth implies refraining from all blasphemy. 
But blasphemy is speaking evil of good things. So usually the word blasphemy is applied 
only to speaking evil of God; for as regards man there is uncertainty, but God is without 
controversy good. If, then, you are proved guilty of saying worse things of God than any 
one else says, what becomes of your famous symbol of the mouth? The evidence is not ob- 
scure, but clear and obvious to every understanding, and irresistible, the more so that no 
one can remain in ignorance of it, that God is incorruptible, immutable, liable to no injury, 
to no want, to no weakness, to no misery. All this the common sense of rational beings 
perceives, and even you assent when you hear it. 

21. But when you begin to relate your fables, that God is corruptible, and mutable, and 
subject to injury, and exposed to want and weakness, and not secure from misery, this is 
what you are blind enough to teach, and what some are blind enough to believe. And this 
is not all; for, according to you, God is not only corruptible, but corrupted; not only 
changeable, but changed; not only subject to injury, but injured; not only liable to want, but 
in want; not only possibly, but actually weak; not only exposed to misery, but miserable. 
You say that the soul is God, or a part of God. I do not see how it can be part of God without 
being God. A part of gold is gold; of silver silver; of stone stone; and, to come to greater 
things, part of earth is earth, part of water is water, and of air air; and if you take part from 
fire, you will not deny it to be fire; and part of light can be nothing but light. Why then 
should part of God not be God? Has God a jointed body, like man and the lower animals? 
For part of man is not man. 

22. I will deal with each of these opinions separately. If you view God as resembling 
light, you must admit that part of God is God. Hence, when you make the soul part of God, 
though you allow it to be corrupted as being foolish, and changed as having once been wise, 
and in want as needing health, and feeble as needing medicine, and miserable as desiring 
happiness, all these things you profanely attribute to God. Or if you deny these things of 
the mind, it follows that the Spirit is not required to lead the soul into truth, since it is not 
in folly; nor is the soul renewed by true religion, since it does not need renewal; nor is it 
perfected by your symbols, since it is already perfect; nor does God give it assistance, since 
it does not need it; nor is Christ its physician, since it is in health; nor does it require the 
promise of happiness in another life. Why then is Jesus called the deliverer, according to 
His own words in the Gospel, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed?" 169 


169 Johnviii. 36. 


129 


The Value of the Symbol of the Mouth Among the Manichceans, Who are Found... 


1 70 

And the Apostle Paul says, "Ye have been called to liberty." The soul, then, which has 
not attained this liberty is in bondage. Therefore, according to you, God, since part of God 
is God, is both corrupted by folly, and is changed by falling, and is injured by the loss of 
perfection, and is in need of help, and is weakened by disease, and bowed down with misery, 
and subject to disgraceful bondage. 

23. Again, if part of God is not God, still He is not incorrupt when His part is corrupted, 
nor unchanged when there is change in any part, nor uninjured when He is not perfect in 
every part, nor free from want when He is busily endeavoring to recover part of Himself, 
nor quite whole when He has a weak part, nor perfectly happy when any part is suffering 
misery, nor entirely free when any part is under bondage. These are conclusions to which 
you are driven, because you say that the soul, which you see to be in such a calamitous 
condition, is part of God. If you can succeed in making your sect abandon these and many 
similar opinions, then you may speak of your mouth being free from blasphemies. Better 
still, leave the sect; for if you cease to believe and to repeat what Manichaeus has written, 
you will be no longer Manichceans. 

24. That God is the supreme good, and that than which nothing can be or can be con- 
ceived better, we must either understand or believe, if we wish to keep clear of blasphemy. 
There is a relation of numbers which cannot possibly be impaired or altered, nor can any 
nature by any amount of violence prevent the number which comes after one from being 
the double of one. This can in no way be changed; and yet you represent God as changeable! 
This relation preserves its integrity inviolable; and you will not allow God an equality even 
in this! Let some race of darkness take in the abstract the number three, consisting of indi- 
visible units, and divide it into two equal parts. Your mind perceives that no hostility could 
effect this. And can that which is unable to injure a numerical relation injure God? If it 
could not, what possible necessity could there be for a part of him to be mixed with evil, 
and driven into such miseries? 


170 Gal. v. 13. 


130 


Manichcean Subterfuge. 


Chapter 12. — Manichaean Subterfuge. 

25. For this gives rise to the question, which used to throw us into great perplexity even 
when we were your zealous disciples, nor could we find any answer, — what the race of 
darkness would have done to God, supposing He had refused to fight with it at the cost of 
such calamity to part of Himself. For if God would not have suffered any loss by remaining 
quiet, we thought it hard that we had been sent to endure so much. Again, if He would have 
suffered, His nature cannot have been incorruptible, as it behoves the nature of God to be. 
Sometimes the answer was, that it was not for the sake of escaping evil or avoiding injury, 
but that God in His natural goodness wished to bestow the blessing of order on a disturbed 
and disordered nature. This is not what we find in the Manichaean books: there it is con- 
stantly implied and constantly asserted that God guarded against an invasion of His enemies. 
But supposing this answer, which was given from want of a better, to represent the opinion 
of the Manichaeans, is God, in their view, vindicated from the charge of cruelty or weakness? 
For this goodness of His to the hostile race proved most pernicious to His own subjects. 
Besides, if God’s nature could not be corrupted nor changed, neither could any destructive 
influence corrupt or change us; and the order to be bestowed on the race of strangers might 
have been bestowed without robbing us of it. 

26. Since those times, however, another answer has appeared which I heard recently at 
Carthage. For one, whom I wish much to see brought out of this error, when reduced to 
this same dilemma, ventured to say that the kingdom had its own limits, which might be 
invaded by a hostile race, though God Himself could not be injured. But this is a reply which 
your founder would never consent to give; for he would be likely to see that such an opinion 
would lead to a still speedier demolition of his heresy. And in fact any one of average intellect, 
who hears that in this nature part is subject to injury and part not, will at once perceive that 
this makes not two but three natures, — one violable, a second inviolable, and a third violating. 


131 



Actions to Be Judged of from Their Motive, Not from Externals. Manichcean. . . 


Chapter 13. — Actions to Be Judged of from Their Motive, Not from Externals. 

Manichsean Abstinence to Be Tried by This Principle. 

27. Having every day in your mouth these blasphemies which come from your heart, 
you ought not to continue holding up the symbol of the mouth as something wonderful, to 
ensnare the ignorant. But perhaps you think the symbol of the mouth excellent and admirable 
because you do not eat flesh or drink wine. But what is your end in this? For according as 
the end we have in view in our actions, on account of which we do whatever we do, is not 
only not culpable but also praiseworthy, so only can our actions merit any praise. If the end 
we have regard to in any performance is unlawful and blameworthy, the performance itself 
will be unhesitatingly condemned as improper. 

28. We are told of Catiline that he could bear cold, thirst, and hunger. This the vile 
miscreant had in common with our apostles. What then distinguishes the parricide from 
our apostles but the precisely opposite end which he followed? He bore these things in order 
to gratify his fierce and ungoverned passions; they, on the other hand, in order to restrain 
these passions and subdue them to reason. You often say, when you are told of the great 
number of Catholic virgins, a she-mule is a virgin. This, indeed, is said in ignorance of the 
Catholic system, and is not applicable. Still, what you mean is that this continence is 
worthless unless it leads, on right principles, to an end of high excellence. Catholic Christians 
might also compare your abstinence from wine and flesh to that of cattle and many small 
birds, as likewise of countless sorts of worms. But, not to be impertinent like you, I will not 
make this comparison prematurely, but will first examine your end in what you do. For I 
suppose I may safely take it as agreed on, that in such customs the end is the thing to look 
to. Therefore, if your end is to be frugal and to restrain the appetite which finds gratification 
in eating and drinking, I assent and approve. But this is not the case. 

29. Suppose, what is quite possible, that there is one so frugal and sparing in his diet, 
that, instead of gratifying his appetite or his palate, he refrains from eating twice in one day, 
and at supper takes a little cabbage moistened and seasoned with lard, just enough to keep 
down hunger; and quenches his thirst, from regard to his health, with two or three draughts 
of pure wine; and this is his regular diet: whereas another of different habits never takes 
flesh or wine, but makes an agreeable repast at two o’clock on rare and foreign vegetables, 
varied with a number of courses, and well sprinkled with pepper, and sups in the same style 
towards night; and drinks honey- vinegar, mead, raisin-wine, and the juices of various fruits, 
no bad imitation of wine, and even surpassing it in sweetness; and drinks not for thirst but 
for pleasure; and makes this provision for himself daily, and feasts in this sumptuous style, 
not because he requires it, but only gratifying his taste; — which of these two do you regard 


171 Sallust, in prolog. Catilin. § 3. 


132 



Actions to Be Judged of from Their Motive, Not from Externals. Manichcean. . . 


as living most abstemiously in food and drink? You cannot surely be so blind as not to put 
the man of the little lard and wine above this glutton! 

30. This is the true view; but your doctrine sounds very differently. For one of your 
elect distinguished by the three symbols may live like the second person in this description, 
and though he maybe reproved by one or two of the more sedate, he cannot be condemned 
as abusing the symbols. But should he sup with the other person, and moisten his lips with 
a morsel of rancid bacon, or refresh them with a drink of spoilt wine, he is pronounced a 
transgressor of the symbol, and by the judgment of your founder is consigned to hell, while 
you, though wondering, must assent. Will you not discard these errors? Will you not listen 
to reason? Will you not offer some little resistance to the force of habit? Is not such doctrine 
most unreasonable? Is it not insanity? Is it not the greatest absurdity that one, who stuffs 
and loads his stomach every day to gratify his appetite with mushrooms, rice, truffles, cake, 
mead, pepper, and assafoetida, and who fares thus every day, cannot be convicted of trans- 
gressing the three symbols, that is, the rule of sanctity; whereas another, who seasons his 
dish of the commonest herbs with some smoky morsel of meat, and takes only so much of 
this as is needed for the refreshment of his body, and drinks three cups of wine for the sake 
of keeping in health, should, for exchanging the former diet for this, be doomed to certain 
punishment? 


133 



Three Good Reasons for Abstaining from Certain Kinds of Food. 


Chapter 14. — Three Good Reasons for Abstaining from Certain Kinds of Food. 

31. But, you reply, the apostle says, "It is good, brethren, neither to eat flesh, nor to 

1 no 

drink wine." No one denies that this is good, provided that it is for the end already 

I no 

mentioned, of which it is said, "Make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof;" 
or for the ends pointed out by the apostle, namely, either to check the appetite, which is apt 
to go to a more wild and uncontrollable excess in these things than in others, or lest a 
brother should be offended, or lest the weak should hold fellowship with an idol. For at the 
time when the apostle wrote, the flesh of sacrifices was often sold in the market. And because 
wine, too, was used in libations to the gods of the Gentiles, many weaker brethren, accus- 
tomed to purchase such things, preferred to abstain entirely from flesh and wine rather than 
run the risk of having fellowship, as they considered it, with idols, even ignorantly. And, 
for their sakes, even those who were stronger, and had faith enough to see the insignificance 
of these things, knowing that nothing is unclean except from an evil conscience, and holding 
by the saying of the Lord, "Not that which entereth into your mouth defileth you, but that 
which cometh out of it," 174 still, lest these weaker brethren should stumble, were bound to 
abstain from these things. And this is not a mere theory, but is clearly taught in the epistles 
of the apostle himself. For you are in the habit of quoting only the words, "It is good, 
brethren, neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine," without adding what follows, "nor anything 
whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended or is made weak." These words show the 
intention of the apostle in giving the admonition. 

32. This is evident from the preceding and succeeding context. The passage is a long 
one to quote, but, for the sake of those who are indolent in reading and searching the sacred 
Scriptures, we must give the whole of it. "Him that is weak in the faith," says the apostle, 
"receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: 
another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and 
let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth, for God hath received him. Who art thou 
that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall 
be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above an- 
other; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it to the Lord. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for 
he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God 
thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, 
we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, 
or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both lived, and died and rose again, that He 


172 Rom. xiv. 21. 

173 Rom. xiii. 14. 


174 Matt. xv. 2. 


134 


Three Good Reasons for Abstaining from Certain Kinds of Food. 


might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why 
dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. 
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall 
confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not, 

therefore, judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling- 
block, or occasion to fall, in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, 
that there is nothing common of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be common, 
to him it is common. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not 
charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then our good 
be evil spoken of. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and 
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he who in this serveth Christ is acceptable to God, 
and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and 
things whereby one may edify another. For meat destroys not the work of God. All things 
indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offense. It is good neither to eat 
flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is 
made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he who condemn eth 
not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that distinguishes is damned if he eats, 
because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. We then that are strong 
ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us 

1 Hf. 

please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself. 

33. Is it not clear that what the apostle required was, that the stronger should not eat 
flesh nor drink wine, because they gave offense to the weak by not going along with them, 
and made them think that those who in faith judged all things to be pure, did homage to 
idols in not abstaining from that kind of food and drink? This is also set forth in the following 
passage of the Epistle to the Corinthians: "As concerning, therefore, the eating of those 
things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, 
and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether 
in heaven or in earth, but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and 
we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him. Howbeit 
there is not in every man that knowledge: for some, with conscience of the idol unto this 
hour, eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But 
meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, shall we abound; neither, if we eat 
not, shall we suffer want. But take heed, lest by any means this liberty of yours become a 
stumbling-block to them that are weak. For if any man see one who has knowledge sit at 
meat in the idol’s temple, shall not his conscience being weak be emboldened to eat those 


175 Isa. xlv. 23, 24. 

176 Rom. xiv. and xv. 1-3. 


135 


Three Good Reasons for Abstaining from Certain Kinds of Food. 


things which are offered to idols; and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, 
for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak 
conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat 

I n’-] 

no flesh forever, lest I make my brother to offend." 

34. Again, in another place: "What say I then? that the idol is anything? or that which 
is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they 
sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with 
devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers 
of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we 
stronger than He? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things 
are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man what is 
another’s. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience 
sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake 
that shows it, and for conscience sake: conscience, I say, not thine own, but another’s: for 
why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? For if I be a partaker with thanksgiv- 
ing, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether, therefore, ye eat or 
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the 
Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God: even as I please all men in all things not 
seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many that they may be saved. Be ye followers of 

1 '70 

me, even as I also am of Christ." 

35. It is clear, then, I think, for what end we should abstain from flesh and wine. The 
end is threefold: to check indulgence, which is mostly practised in this sort of food, and in 
this kind of drink goes the length of intoxication; to protect weakness, on account of the 
things which are sacrificed and offered in libation; and, what is most praiseworthy of all, 
from love, not to offend the weakness of those more feeble than ourselves, who abstain from 
these things. You, again, consider a morsel of meat unclean; whereas the apostle says that 
all things are clean, but that it is evil to him that eateth with offence. And no doubt you are 
defiled by such food, simply because you think it unclean. For the apostle says, "I know, 
and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing common of itself: but to him 
that esteemeth anything common, to him it is common." And every one can see that by 
common he means unclean and defiled. But it is folly to discuss passages of Scripture with 
you; for you both mislead people by promising to prove your doctrines, and those books 
which possess authority to demand our homage you affirm to be corrupted by spurious in- 


177 1 Cor. viii. 4, etc. 

178 1 Cor. x. 19-25 and 28, xi. 1. 


136 


Three Good Reasons for Abstaining from Certain Kinds of Food. 


terpolations. Prove then to me your doctrine that flesh defiles the eater, when it is taken 

i yn 

without offending any one, without any weak notions, and without any excess. 


179 [Augustin’s comparison of Manichaean with Christian asceticism is thoroughly just and admir- 
able.— A.H.N.] 


137 



Why the Manichceans Prohibit the Use of Flesh. 


Chapter 15. — Why the Manichseans Prohibit the Use of Flesh. 

36. It is worth while to take note of the whole reason for their superstitious abstinence, 
which is given as follows: — Since, we are told, the member of God has been mixed with the 
substance of evil, to repress it and to keep it from excessive ferocity, — for that is what you 
say, — the world is made up of both natures, of good and evil, mixed together. But this part 
of God is daily being set free in all parts of the world, and restored to its own domain. But 
in its passage upwards as vapor from earth to heaven, it enters plants, because their roots 
are fixed in the earth, and so gives fertility and strength to all herbs and shrubs. From these 
animals get their food, and, where there is sexual intercourse, fetter in the flesh the member 
of God, and, turning it from its proper course, they come in the way and entangle it in errors 
and troubles. So then, if food consisting of vegetables and fruits comes to the saints, that 
is, to the Manichaeans by means of their chastity, and prayers, and psalms, whatever in it is 
excellent and divine is purified, and so is entirely perfected, in order to restoration, free 
from all hindrance, to its own domain. Hence you forbid people to give bread or vegetables, 
or even water, which would cost nobody anything, to a beggar, if he is not a Manichaean, 
lest he should defile the member of God by his sins, and obstruct its return. 

37. Flesh, you say, is made up of pollution itself. For, according to you, some portion 
of that divine part escapes in the eating of vegetables and fruits: it escapes while they undergo 
the infliction of rubbing, grinding, or cooking, as also of biting or chewing. It escapes, too, 
in all motions of animals, in the carriage of burdens, in exercise, in toil, or in any sort of 
action. It escapes, too, in our rest, when digestion is going on in the body by means of in- 
ternal heat. And as the divine nature escapes in all these ways, some very unclean dregs 
remain, from which, in sexual intercourse, flesh is formed. These dregs, however, fly off, 
in the motions above mentioned, along with what is good in the soul; for though it is mostly, 
it is not entirely good. So, when the soul has left the flesh, the dregs are utterly filthy, and 
the soul of those who eat flesh is defiled. 


138 



Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichceans. 


Chapter 16. — Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichseans. 

38. O the obscurity of the nature of things! How hard to expose falsehood! Who that 
hears these things, if he is one who has not learned the causes of things, and who, not yet 
illuminated by any ray of truth, is deceived by material images, would not think them true, 
precisely because the things spoken of are invisible, and are presented to the mind under 
the form of visible things, and can be eloquently expressed? Men of this description exist 
in numbers and in droves, who are kept from being led away into these errors more by a 
fear grounded on religious feeling than by reason. I will therefore endeavor, as God may 
please to enable me, so to refute these errors, as that their falsehood and absurdity will be 
manifest not only in the judgment of the wise, who reject them on hearing them, but also 
to the intelligence of the multitude. 

39. Tell me then, first, where you get the doctrine that part of God, as you call it, exists 
in corn, beans, cabbage, and flowers and fruits. From the beauty of the color, say they, and 
the sweetness of the taste; this is evident; and as these are not found in rotten substances, 
we learn that their good has been taken from them. Are they not ashamed to attribute the 
finding of God to the nose and the palate? But I pass from this. For I will speak, using words 
in their proper sense; and, as the saying is, this is not so easy in speaking to you. Let us see 
rather what sort of mind is required to understand this; how, if the presence of good in 
bodies is shown by their color, the dung of animals, the refuse of flesh itself, has all kinds 
of bright colors, sometimes white, often golden; and so on, though these are what you take 
in fruits and flowers as proofs of the presence and indwelling of God. Why is it that in a 
rose you hold the red color to be an indication of an abundance of good, while the same 
color in blood you condemn? Why do you regard with pleasure in a violet the same color 
which you turn away from in cases of cholera, or of people with jaundice, or in the excrement 
of infants? Why do you believe the light, shining appearance of oil to be a sign of a plentiful 
admixture of good, which you readily set about purifying by taking the oil into your throats 
and stomachs, while you are afraid to touch your lips with a drop of fat, though it has the 
same shining appearance as oil? Why do you look upon a yellow melon as part of the 
treasures of God, and not rancid bacon fat or the yolk of an egg? Why do you think that 
whiteness in a lettuce proclaims God, and not in milk? So much for colors, as regards which 
(to mention nothing else) you cannot compare any flower-clad meadow with the wings and 
feathers of a single peacock, though these are of flesh and of fleshly origin. 

40. Again, if this good is discovered also by smell, perfumes of excellent smell are made 
from the flesh of some animals. And the smell of food, when cooked along with flesh of 
delicate flavor, is better than if cooked without it. Once more, if you think that the things 
that have a better smell than others are therefore cleaner, there is a kind of mud which you 
ought to take to your meals instead of water from the cistern; for dry earth moistened with 
rain has an odor most agreeable to the sense, and this sort of mud has a better smell than 


139 



Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichceans. 


rain-water taken by itself. But if we must have the authority of taste to prove the presence 
in any object of part of God, he must dwell in dates and honey more than in pork, but more 
in pork than in beans. I grant that He dwells more in a fig than in a liver; but then you must 
allow that He is more in liver than in beet. And, on this principle, must you not confess 
that some plants, which none of you can doubt to be cleaner than flesh, receive God from 
this very flesh, if we are to think of God as mixed with the flavor? For both cabbages taste 
better when cooked along with flesh; and, while we cannot relish the plants on which cattle 
feed, when these are turned into milk we think them improved in color, and find them very 
agreeable to the taste. 

41. Or must we think that good is to be found in greater quantity where the three good 
qualities — a good color, and smell, and taste — are found together? Then you must not admire 
and praise flowers so much, as you cannot admit them to be tried at the tribunal of the palate. 
At least you must not prefer purslain to flesh, since flesh when cooked is superior in color, 
smell, and taste. A young pig roasted (for your ideas on this subject force us to discuss good 
and evil with you as if you were cooks and confectioners, instead of men of reading or literary 
taste) is bright in color, and agreeable in smell, and pleasant in taste. Here is a perfect 
evidence of the presence of the divine substance. You are invited by this threefold testimony, 
and called on to purify this substance by your sanctity. Make the attack. Why do you hold 
back? What objection have you to make. In color alone the excrement of an infant surpasses 
lentils; in smell alone a roast morsel surpasses a soft green fig; in taste alone a kid when 
slaughtered surpasses the plant which it fed on when alive: and we have found a kind of 
flesh in flavor of which all three give evidence. What more do you require? What reply will 
you make? Why should eating meat make you unclean, if using such monstrosities in dis- 
cussion does not? And, above all, the rays of the sun, which you surely think more of than 
all animal or vegetable food, have no smell or taste, and are remarkable among other sub- 
stances only by their eminently bright color; which is a loud call to you, and an obligation, 
in spite of yourselves, to place nothing higher than a bright color among the evidences of 
an admixture of good. 

42. Thus you are forced into this difficulty, that you must acknowledge the part of God 
as dwelling more in blood, and in the filthy but bright-colored animal refuse which is thrown 
out in the streets, than in the pale leaves of the olive. If you reply, as you actually do, that 
olive leaves when burnt give out a flame, which proves the presence of light, while flesh 
when burnt does not, what will you say of oil, which lights nearly all the lamps in Italy? 
What of cow dung (which surely is more unclean than the flesh), which peasants use when 
dry as fuel, so that the fire is always at hand, and the liberation of the smoke is always going 
on? And if brightness and lustre prove a greater presence of the divine part, why do you 
yourselves not purify it, why not appropriate it, why not liberate it? For it is found chiefly 
in flowers, not to speak of blood and countless things almost the same as blood in flesh or 



140 



Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichceans. 


coming from it, and yet you cannot feed on flowers. And even if you were to eat flesh, you 
would certainly not take with your gruel the scales of fish, or some worms and flies, though 
these all shine with a light of their own in the dark. 

43. What then remains, but that you should cease saying that you have in your eyes, 
nose, and palate sufficient means of testing the presence of the divine part in material objects? 
And, without these means, how can you tell not only that there is a greater part of God in 
plants than in flesh, but that there is any part in plants at all? Are you led to think this by 
their beauty — not the beauty of agreeable color, but that of agreement of parts? An excellent 
reason, in my opinion. For you will never be so bold as to compare twisted pieces of wood 
with the bodies of animals, which are formed of members answering to one another. But 
if you choose the testimony of the senses, as those must do who cannot see with their mind 
the full force of existence, how do you prove that the substance of good escapes from bodies 
in course of time, and by some kind of attrition, but because God has gone out of it, according 
to your view, and has left one place for another? The whole is absurd. But, as far as I can 
judge, there are no marks or appearances to give rise to this opinion. For many things 
plucked from trees, or pulled out of the ground, are the better of some interval of time before 
we use them for food, as leeks and endive, lettuce, grapes, apples, figs, and some pears; and 
there are many other things which get a better color when they are not used immediately 
after being plucked, besides being more wholesome for the body, and having a finer flavor 
to the palate. But these things should not possess all these excellent and agreeable qualities, 
if, as you say, they become more destitute of good the longer they are kept after separation 
from their mother earth. Animal food itself is better and more fit for use the day after the 
animal is killed; but this should not be, if, as you hold, it possessed more good immediately 
after the slaughter than next day, when more of the divine substance had escaped. 

44. Who does not know that wine becomes purer and better by age? Nor is it, as you 
think, more tempting to the destruction of the senses, but more useful for invigorating the 
body, — only let there be moderation, which ought to control everything. The senses are 
sooner destroyed by new wine. When the must has been only a short time in the vat, and 
has begun to ferment, it makes those who look down into it fall headlong, affecting their 
brain, so that without assistance they would perish. And as regards health, every one knows 
that bodies are swollen up and injuriously distended by new wine? Has it these bad properties 
because there is more good in it? Are they not found in wine when old because a good deal 
of the divine substance has gone? An absurd thing to say, especially for you, who prove the 
divine presence by the pleasing effect produced on your eyes, nose, and palate! And what 
a contradiction it is to make wine the poison of the princes of darkness, and yet to eat grapes! 
Has it more of the poison when in the cup than when in the cluster? Or if the evil remains 
unmixed after the good is gone, and that by the process of time, how is it that the same 
grapes, when hung up for awhile, become milder, sweeter, and more wholesome? or how 


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Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichceans. 


does the wine itself, as already mentioned, become purer and brighter when the light has 
gone, and more wholesome by the loss of the beneficial substance? 

45. What are we to say of wood and leaves, which in course of time become dry, but 
cannot be the worse on that account in your estimation? For while they lose that which 
produces smoke, they retain that from which a bright flame arises; and, to judge by the 
clearness, which you think so much of, there is more good in the dry than in the green. 
Hence you must either deny that there is more of God in the pure light than in the smoky 
one, which will upset all your evidences; or you must allow it to be possible that, when plants 
are plucked up, or branches plucked off, and kept for a time, more of the nature of evil may 
escape from them than of the nature of good. And, on the strength of this, we shall hold 
that more evil may go off from plucked fruits; and so more good may remain in animal 
food. So much on the subject of time. 

46. As for motion, and tossing, and rubbing, if these give the divine nature the oppor- 
tunity of escaping from these substances, many things of the same kind are against you, 
which are improved by motion. In some grains the juice resembles wine, and is excellent 
when moved about. Indeed, as must not be overlooked, this kind of drink produces intox- 
ication rapidly; and yet you never called the juice of grain the poison of the princes of 
darkness. There is a preparation of water, thickened with a little meal, which is the better 
of being shaken, and, strange to say, is lighter in color when the light is gone. The pastry 
cook stirs honey for a long time to give it this light color, and to make its sweetness milder 
and less unwholesome: you must explain how this can come from the loss of good. Again, 
if you prefer to test the presence of God by the agreeable effects on the hearing, and not 
sight, or smell, or taste, harps get their strings and pipes their bones from animals; and these 
become musical by being dried, and rubbed, and twisted. So the pleasures of music, which 
you hold to have come from the divine kingdom, are obtained from the refuse of dead an- 
imals, and that, too, when they are dried by time, and lessened by rubbing, and stretched 
by twisting. Such rough treatment, according to you, drives the divine substance from living 
objects; even cooking them, you say, does this. Why then are boiled thistles not unwhole- 
some? Is it because God, or part of God, leaves them when they are cooked? 

47. Why mention all the particulars, when it is difficult to enumerate them? Nor is it 
necessary; for every one knows how many things are sweeter and more wholesome when 
cooked. This ought not to be, if, as you suppose, things lose the good by being thus moved 
about. I do not suppose that you will find any proof from your bodily senses that flesh is 
unclean, and defiles the souls of those who eat it, because fruits, when plucked and shaken 
about in various ways, become flesh; especially as you hold that vinegar, in its age and fer- 
mentation, is cleaner than wine, and the mead you drink is nothing else than cooked wine, 
which ought to be more impure than wine, if material things lose the divine members by 
being moved about and cooked. But if not, you have no reason to think that fruits, when 


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Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichceans. 


plucked, kept, handled, cooked, and digested, are forsaken by the good, and therefore supply 
most unclean matter for the formation of bodies. 

48. But if it is not from their color and appearance, and smell and taste, that you think 
the good to be in these things, what else can you bring forward? Do you prove it from the 
strength and vigor which those things seem to lose when they are separated from the earth 
and put to use? If this is your reason (though its erroneousness is seen at once, from the 
fact that the strength of some things is increased after their separation from the earth, as in 
the case already mentioned of wine, which becomes stronger from age), — if the strength, 
then, is your reason, it would follow that the part of God is to be found in no food more 
abundantly than in flesh. For athletes, who especially require vigor and energy, are not in 
the habit of feeding on cabbage and fruit without animal food. 

49. Is your reason for thinking the bodies of trees better than our bodies, that flesh is 
nourished by trees and not trees by flesh. You forget the obvious fact that plants, when 
manured with dung, become richer and more fertile and crops heavier, though you think 
it your gravest charge against flesh that it is the abode of dung. This then gives nourishment 
to things you consider clean, though it is, according to you, the most unclean part of what 
you consider unclean. But if you dislike flesh because it springs from sexual intercourse, 
you should be pleased with the flesh of worms, which are bred in such numbers, and of such 
a size, in fruits, in wood, and in the earth itself, without any sexual intercourse. But there 
is some insincerity in this. For if you were displeased with flesh because it is formed from 
the cohabitation of father and mother, you would not say that those princes of darkness 
were born from the fruits of their own trees; for no doubt you think worse of these princes 
than of flesh, which you refuse to eat. 

50. Your idea that all the souls of animals come from the food of their parents, from 
which confinement you pretend to liberate the divine substance which is held bound in 
your viands, is quite inconsistent with your abstinence from flesh, and makes it a pressing 
duty for you to eat animal food. For if souls are bound in the body by those who eat animal 
food, why do you not secure their liberation by being beforehand in eating the food? You 
reply, it is not from the animal food that the good part comes which those people bring into 
bondage, but from the vegetables which they take with their meat. What will you say then 
of the souls of lions, who feed only on flesh? They drink, is the reply, and so the soul is 
drawn in from the water and confined in flesh. But what of birds without number? What 
of eagles, which eat only flesh, and need no drink? Here you are at a loss, and can find no 
answer. For if the soul comes from food, and there are animals which neither drink anything 
nor have any food but flesh, and yet bring forth young, there must be some soul in flesh; 
and you are bound to try your plan of purifying it by eating the flesh. Or will you say that 


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Disclosure of the Monstrous Tenets of the Manichceans. 


a pig has a soul of light, because it eats vegetables, and drinks water; and that the eagle, be- 
cause it eats only flesh, has a soul of darkness, though it is so fond of the sun? 

5 1 . What a confusion of ideas ! What amazing fatuity! All this you would have escaped, 
if you had rejected idle fictions, and had followed what truth sanctions in abstinence from 
food, which would have taught you that sumptuous eating is to be avoided, not to escape 
pollution, as there is nothing of the kind, but to subdue the sensual appetite. For should 
any one, from inattention to the nature of things, and the properties of the soul and body, 
allow that the soul is polluted by animal food, you will admit that it is much much more 
defiled by sensuality. Is it reasonable, then, or rather, is it not most unreasonable, to expel 
from the number of the elect a man who, perhaps for his health’s sake, takes some animal 
food without sensual appetite; while, if a man eagerly devours peppered truffles, you can 
only reprove him for excess, but cannot condemn him as abusing your symbol? So one who 
has been induced, not by sensuality, but for health, to eat part of a fowl, cannot remain 
among your elect; though one may remain who has yielded voluntarily to an excessive ap- 
petite for comfits and cakes without animal matter. You retain the man plunged in the de- 
filements of sensuality, and dismiss the man polluted, as you think, by the mere food; though 
you allow that the defilement of sensuality is far greater than that of meat. You keep hold 
of one who gloats with delight over highly-seasoned vegetables, unable to keep possession 
of himself; while you shut out one who, to satisfy hunger, takes whatever comes, if suitable 
for nourishment, ready either to use the food, or to let it go. Admirable customs! Excellent 
morals! Notable temperance! 

52. Again, the notion that it is unlawful for any one but the elect to touch as food what 
is brought to your meals for what you call purification, leads to shameful and sometimes to 
criminal practices. For sometimes so much is brought that it cannot easily be eaten up by 
a few; and as it is considered sacrilege to give what is left to others, or, at least, to throw it 
away, you are obliged to eat to excess, from the desire to purify, as you call it, all that is given. 
Then, when you are full almost to bursting, you cruelly use force in making the boys of your 
sect eat the rest. So it was charged against some one at Rome that he killed some poor 
children, by compelling them to eat for this superstitious reason. This I should not believe, 
did I not know how sinful you consider it to give this food to those who are not elect, or, at 
any rate, to throw it away. So the only way is to eat it; and this leads every day to gluttony, 
and may sometimes lead to murder. 

53. For the same reason you forbid giving bread to beggars. By way of showing com- 
passion, or rather of avoiding reproach, you advise to give money. The cruelty of this is 


180 [Much of the foregoing, as well as of what follows, seems to the modern reader like mere trifling, but 
Augustin’s aim was by introducing many familiar illustrations to show the utter absurdity of the Manichaean 
distinctions between clean and unclean. It must be confessed that he does this very effectively. — A.H.N.] 


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equalled by its stupidity. For suppose a place where food cannot be purchased: the beggar 
will die of starvation, while you, in your wisdom and benevolence, have more mercy on a 
cucumber than on a human being! This is in truth (for how could it be better designated) 
pretended compassion, and real cruelty. Then observe the stupidity. What if the beggar 
buys bread for himself with the money you give him? Will the divine part, as you call it, 
not suffer the same in him when he buys the food as it would have suffered if he had taken 
it as a gift from you? So this sinful beggar plunges in corruption part of God eager to escape, 
and is aided in this crime by your money! But you in your great sagacity think it enough 
that you do not give to one about to commit murder a man to kill, though you knowingly 
give him money to procure somebody to be killed. Can any madness go beyond this? The 
result is, that either the man dies if he cannot get food for his money, or the food itself dies 
if he gets it. The one is true murder; the other what you call murder: though in both cases 
you incur the guilt of real murder. Again, there is the greatest folly and absurdity in allowing 
your followers to eat animal food, while you forbid them to kill animals. If this food does 
not defile, take it yourselves. If it defiles, what can be more unreasonable than to think it 
more sinful to separate the soul of a pig from its body than to defile the soul of a man with 
the pig’s flesh. 


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Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichceans. 


Chapter 17. — Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichaeans. 

54. We must now notice and discuss the symbol of the hands. And, in the first place, 
your abstaining from the slaughter of animals and from injuring plants is shown by Christ 
to be mere superstition; for, on the ground that there is no community of rights between 

1 Q 1 

us and brutes and trees, He both sent the devils into an herd of swine, and withered by 
His curse a tree in which He had found no fruit. The swine assuredly had not sinned, 
nor had the tree. We are not so insane as to think that a tree is fruitful or barren by its own 
choice. Nor is it any reply to say that our Lord wished in these actions to teach some other 
truths; for every one knows that. But assuredly the Son of God would not commit murder 
to illustrate truth, if you call the destruction of a tree or of an animal murder. The signs 
which Christ wrought in the case of men, with whom we certainly have a community of 
rights, were in healing, not in killing them. And it would have been the same in the case of 
beasts and trees, if we had that community with them which you imagine. 

55. I think it right to refer here to the authority of Scripture, because we cannot here 
enter on a profound discussion about the soul of animals, or the kind of life in trees. But 
as you preserve the right to call the Scriptures corrupted, in case you should find them too 
strongly opposed to you, — although you have never affirmed the passages about the tree 
and the herd of swine to be spurious, — still, lest some day you should wish to say this of 
them too, when you find how much they are against you, I will adhere to my plan, and will 
ask you, who are so liberal in your promises of evidence and truth, to tell me first what harm 
is done to a tree, I say not by plucking a leaf or an apple, — for which, however, one of you 
would be condemned at once as having abused the symbol, if he did it intentionally, and 
not accidentally, — but if you tear it up by the root. For the soul in trees, which, according 
to you, is a rational soul, is, in your theory, freed from bondage when the tree is cut down, — a 
bondage, too, where it suffered great misery and got no profit. For it is well known that 
you, in the words of your founder, threaten as a great, though not the greatest punishment, 
the change from a man to a tree; and it is not probable that the soul in a tree can grow in 
wisdom as it does in a man. There is the best reason for not killing a man, in case you should 
kill one whose wisdom or virtue might be of use to many, or one who might have attained 
to wisdom, whether by the advice of another without himself, or by divine illumination in 
his own mind. And the more wisdom the soul has when it leaves the body, the more profit- 
able is its departure, as we know both from well-grounded reasoning and from wide-spread 
belief. Thus to cut down a tree is to set free the soul from a body in which it makes no 
progress in wisdom. You — the holy men, I mean — ought to be mainly occupied in cutting 
down trees, and in leading the souls thus emancipated to better things by prayers and psalms. 


181 Matt. viii. 32. 


182 Matt. xxi. 19. 


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Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichceans. 


Or can this be done only with the souls which you take into your belly, instead of aiding 
them by your understanding? 

56. And you cannot escape the admission that the souls in trees make no progress in 
wisdom while they are there, when you are asked why no apostle was sent to teach trees as 
well as men, or why the apostle sent to men did not preach the truth to trees also. Your 
reply must be, that the souls while in such bodies cannot understand the divine precepts. 
But this reply lands you in great difficulties; for you declare that these souls can hear your 
voices and understand what you say, and see bodies and their motions, and even discern 
thoughts. If this is true, why could they learn nothing from the apostle of light? Why could 
they not learn even much better than we, since they can see into the mind? Your master, 
who, as you say, has difficulty in teaching you by speech, might have taught these souls by 
thought; for they could see his ideas in his mind before he expressed them. But if this is 
untrue, consider into what errors you have fallen. 

57. As for your not plucking fruits or pulling up vegetables yourselves, while you get 
your followers to pluck and pull and bring them to you, that you may confer benefits not 
only on those who bring the food but on the food which is brought, what thoughtful person 
can bear to hear this? For, first, it matters not whether you commit a crime yourself, or 
wish another to commit it for you. You deny that you wish this! How then can relief be 
given to the divine part contained in lettuce and leeks, unless some one pull them and bring 
them to the saints to be purified. And again, if you were passing through a field where the 
right of friendship permitted you to pluck anything you wished, what would you do if you 
saw a crow on the point of eating a fig? Does not, according to your ideas, the fig itself seem 
to address you and to beg of you piteously to pluck it yourself and give it burial in a holy 
belly, where it may be purified and restored, rather than that the crow should swallow it 
and make it part of his cursed body, and then hand it over to bondage and torture in other 
forms? If this is true, how cruel you are! If not, how silly! What can be more contrary to 
your opinions than to break the symbol? What can be more unkind to the member of God 
than to keep it? 

58. This supposes the truth of your false and vain ideas. But you can be shown guilty 
of plain and positive cruelty flowing from the same error. For were any one lying on the 
road, his body wasted with disease, weary with journeying, and half-dead from his sufferings, 
and able only to utter some broken words, and if eating a pear would do him good as an 
astringent, and were he to beg you to help him as you passed by, and were he to implore 
you to bring the fruit from a neighboring tree, with no divine or human prohibition to 
prevent your doing so, while the man is sure to die for the want of it, you, a Christian man 
and a saint, will rather pass on and abandon a man thus suffering and entreating, lest the 
tree should lament the loss of its fruit, and you should be doomed to the punishment 


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Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichceans. 


threatened by Manichaeus for breaking the symbol. Strange customs, and strange harmless- 
ness! 

59. Now, as regards killing animals, and the reasons for your opinion, much that has 
been said will apply also to this. For what harm will be done to the soul of a wolf by killing 
the wolf, since the wolf, as long as it lives, will be a wolf, and will not listen to any preacher, 
or give up, in the least, shedding the blood of sheep; and, by killing it, the rational soul, as 
you think, will be set free from its confinement in the body? But you make this slaughter 
unlawful even for your followers; for you think it worse than that of trees. And in this there 
is not much fault to be found with your senses, — that is, your bodily senses. For we see and 
hear by their cries that animals die with pain, although man disregards this in a beast, with 
which, as not having a rational soul, we have no community of rights. But as to your senses 
in the observation of trees, you must be entirely blind. For not to mention that there are 
no movements in the wood expressive of pain, what is clearer than that a tree is never better 
than when it is green and flourishing, gay with flowers, and rich in fruit? And this comes 
generally and chiefly from pruning. But if it felt the iron, as you suppose, it ought to die of 
wounds so many, so severe, instead of sprouting at the places, and reviving with such 
manifest delight. 

60. But why do you think it a greater crime to destroy animals than plants, although 
you hold that plants have a purer soul than animals? There is a compensation, we are told, 
when part of what is taken from the fields is given to the elect and the saints to be purified. 
This has already been refuted; and it has, I think, been proved sufficiently that there is no 
reason for saying that more of the good part is found in vegetables than in flesh. But should 
any one support himself by selling butcher-meat, and spend the whole profit of his business 
in purchasing food for your elect, and bring larger supplies for those saints than any peasant 
or farmer, will he not plead this compensation as a warrant for his killing animals? But 
there is, we are told, some other mysterious reason; for a cunning man can always find some 
resource in the secrets of nature when addressing unlearned people. The story, then, is that 
the heavenly princes who were taken from the race of darkness and bound, and have a place 
assigned them in this region by the Creator of the world, have animals on the earth specially 
belonging to them, each having those coming from his own stock and class; and they hold 
the slaughterers of those animals guilty, and do not allow them to leave the earth, but harass 
them as much as they can with pains and torments. What simple man will not be frightened 
by this, and, seeing nothing in the darkness shrouding these things, will not think that the 
fact is as described? But I will hold to my purpose, with God’s help, to rebut mysterious 
falsehood by the plainest truth. 

61 . Tell me, then, if animals on land and in water come in regular succession by ordinary 
generation from this race of princes, since the origin of animal life is traced to the abortive 
births in that race; — tell me, I say, whether bees and frogs, and many other creatures not 


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Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichceans. 


sprung from sexual intercourse, may be killed with impunity. We are told they cannot. 
So it is not on account of their relation to certain princes that you forbid your followers to 
kill animals. Or if you make a general relationship to all bodies, the princes would be equally 
concerned about trees, which you do not require your followers to spare. You are brought 
back to the weak reply, that the injuries done in the case of plants are atoned for by the fruits 
which your followers bring to your church. For this implies that those who slaughter animals, 
and sell their flesh in the market, if they are your followers, and if they bring to you vegetables 
bought with their gains, may think nothing of the daily slaughter, and are cleared of any sin 
that may be in it by your repasts. 

62. But if you say that, in order to expiate the slaughter, the thing must be given as food, 
as in the case of fruits and vegetables, — which cannot be done, because the elect do not eat 
flesh, and so your followers must not slaughter animals, — what reply will you give in the 
case of thorns and weeds, which farmers destroy in clearing their fields, while they cannot 
bring any food to you from them? How can there be pardon for such destruction, which 
gives no nourishment to the saints? Perhaps you also put away any sin committed, for the 
benefit of the fruits and vegetables, by eating some of these. What then if the fields are 
plundered by locusts, mice, or rats, as we see often happen? Can your rustic follower kill 
these with impunity, because he sins for the good of his crops? Here you are at a loss; for 
you either allow your followers to kill animals, which your founder prohibited, or you forbid 
them to be cultivators, which he made lawful. Indeed, you sometimes go so far as to say 
that an usurer is more harmless than a cultivator, — you feel so much more for melons than 
for men. Rather than hurt the melons, you would have a man ruined as a debtor. Is this 
desirable and praiseworthy justice, or not rather atrocious and damnable error? Is this 
commendable compassion, or not rather detestable barbarity? 

63. What, again, of your not abstaining yourselves from the slaughter office, bugs, and 
fleas? You think it a sufficient excuse for this to say that these are the dirt of our bodies. 
But this is clearly untrue of fleas and bugs; for every one knows that these animals do not 
come from our bodies. Besides, if you abhor sexual intercourse as much as you pretend to 
do, you should think those animals all the cleaner which come from our bodies without any 
other generation; for although they produce offspring of their own, they are not produced 
in ordinary generation from us. Again, if we must consider as most filthy the production 
of living bodies, still worse must be the production of dead bodies. There must be less harm, 
therefore, in killing a rat, a snake, or a scorpion, which you constantly say come from our 
dead bodies. But to pass over what is less plain and certain, it is a common opinion regarding 
bees that they come from the carcases of oxen; so there is no harm in killing them. Or if 


183 [This is, of course, a physiological blunder, but Augustin doubtless states what was the common view at 

the time. — A.H.N.] 


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Description of the Symbol of the Hands Among the Manichceans. 


this too is doubted, every one allows that beetles, at least, are bred in the ball of mud which 
they make and bury. You ought therefore to consider these animals, and others that it 
would be tedious to specify, more unclean than your lice; and yet you think it sinful to kill 
them, though it would be foolish not to kill the lice. Perhaps you hold the lice cheap because 
they are small. But if an animal is to be valued by its size, you must prefer a camel to a man. 

64. Here we may use the gradation which often perplexed us when we were your follow- 
ers. For if a flea may be killed on account of its small size, so may the fly which is bred in 
beans. And if this, so also may one of a little larger size, for its size at birth is even less. 
Then again, a bee may be killed, for its young is no larger than a fly. So on to the young of 
a locust, and to a locust; and then to the young of a mouse, and to a mouse. And, to cut 
short, it is clear we may come at last to an elephant; so that one who thinks it no sin to kill 
a flea, because of its small size, must allow that it would be no sin in him to kill this huge 
creature. But I think enough has been said of these absurdities. 


184 V. Retract, i. 7. § 6, where Augustin allows that this is doubtful, and that many have not even heard of 


it. 


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Of the Symbol of the Breast, and of the Shameful Mysteries of the Manic... 


Chapter 18. — Of the Symbol of the Breast, and of the Shameful Mysteries of the 

Manichseans. 

65. Lastly, there is the symbol of the breast, in which your very questionable chastity 
consists. For though you do not forbid sexual intercourse, you, as the apostle long ago said, 
forbid marriage in the proper sense, although this is the only good excuse for such inter- 
course. No doubt you will exclaim against this, and will make it a reproach against us that 
you highly esteem and approve perfect chastity, but do not forbid marriage, because your 
followers — that is, those in the second grade among you — are allowed to have wives. After 
you have said this with great noise and heat, I will quietly ask, Is it not you who hold that 
begetting children, by which souls are confined in flesh, is a greater sin than cohabitation? 
Is it not you who used to counsel us to observe as much as possible the time when a woman, 
after her purification, is most likely to conceive, and to abstain from cohabitation at that 
time, lest the soul should be entangled in flesh? This proves that you approve of having a 
wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, 
as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of 
children. Therefore whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, 
forbids marriage, and makes the woman not a wife, but a mistress, who for some gifts 
presented to her is joined to the man to gratify his passion. Where there is a wife there must 
be marriage. But there is no marriage where motherhood is not in view; therefore neither 
is there a wife. In this way you forbid marriage. Nor can you defend yourselves successfully 
from this charge, long ago brought against you prophetically by the Holy Spirit. 

66. Moreover, when you are so eager in your desire to prevent the soul from being 

confined in flesh by conjugal intercourse, and so eager in asserting that the soul is set free 
from seed by the food of the saints, do you not sanction, unhappy beings, the suspicion en- 
tertained about you? For why should it be true regarding corn and beans and lentils and 
other seeds, that when you eat them you wish to set free the soul, and not true of the seeds 
of animals? For what you say of the flesh of a dead animal, that it is unclean because there 
is no soul in it, cannot be said of the seed of the animal; for you hold that it keeps confined 
the soul which will appear in the offspring, and you avow that the soul of Manichaeus himself 
is thus confined. And as your followers cannot bring these seeds to you for purification, 
who will not suspect that you make this purification secretly among yourselves, and hide it 
from your followers, in case they should leave you? If you do not these things, as it is to 

be hoped you do not, still you see how open to suspicion your superstition is, and how im- 
possible it is to blame men for thinking what your own profession suggests, when you 


185 [Compare what is said about the disgusting ceremonial of Ischas by Cyril of Jerusalem [Cat. vi.), Augustin 
(. Haeres . xlvi.), Pope Leo X. ( Serm . V. de Jejuniis, X. Metis.). These charges were probably unfounded, though 
they are not altogether out of harmony with the Manichaean principles. — A.H.N.] 


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Of the Symbol of the Breast, and of the Shameful Mysteries of the Manic... 


maintain that you set free souls from bodies and from senses by eating and drinking. I wish 
to say no more about this: you see yourselves what room there is here for denunciation. 
But as the matter is one rather to repress than to invite remark, and also as throughout my 
discourse my purpose appears of exaggerating nothing, and of keeping to bare facts and 
arguments, we shall pass on to other matters. 


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Crimes of the Manichceans. 


Chapter 19. — Crimes of the Manichasans. 

67. We see then, now, the nature of your three symbols. These are your customs. This 
is the end of your notable precepts, in which there is nothing sure, nothing steadfast, nothing 
consistent, nothing irreproachable, but all doubtful, or rather undoubtedly and entirely 
false, all contradictory, abominable, absurd. In a word, evil practices are detected in your 
customs so many and so serious, that one wishing to denounce them all, if he were at all 
able to enlarge, would require at least a separate treatise for each. Were you to observe these, 
and to act up to your profession, no childishness, or folly, or absurdity would go beyond 
yours; and when you praise and teach these things without doing them, you display craft 
and deceit and malevolence equal to anything that can be described or imagined. 

68. During nine full years that I attended you with great earnestness and assiduity, I 
could not hear of one of your elect who was not found transgressing these precepts, or at 
least was not suspected of doing so. Many were caught at wine and animal food, many at 
the baths; but this we only heard by report. Some were proved to have seduced other men’s 
wives, so that in this case I could not doubt the truth of the charge. But suppose this, too, 
a report rather than a fact. I myself saw, and not I only, but others who have either escaped 
from that superstition, or will, I hope, yet escape, — we saw, I say, in a square in Carthage, 
on a road much frequented, not one, but more than three of the elect walking behind us, 
and accosting some women with such indecent sounds and gestures as to outdo the boldness 
and insolence of all ordinary rascals. And it was clear that this was quite habitual, and that 
they behaved in this way to one another, for no one was deterred by the presence of a com- 
panion, showing that most of them, if not all, were affected with this evil tendency. For they 
did not all come from one house, but lived in quite different places, and quite accidentally 
left together the place where they had met. It was a great shock to us, and we lodged a 
complaint about it. But who thought of inflicting punishment, — I say not by separation 
from the church, but even by severe rebuke in proportion to the heinousness of the offence? 

69. All the excuse given for the impunity of those men was that, at that time, when their 
meetings were forbidden by law, it was feared that the persons suffering punishment might 
retaliate by giving information. What then of their assertion that they will always have 
persecution in this world, for which they suppose that they will be thought the more of? for 
this is the application they make of the words about the world hating them. And they 
will have it that truth must be sought for among them, because, in the promise of the Holy 
Spirit, the Paraclete, it is said that the world cannot receive Him. This is not the place 


186 John xv. 18. 

187 Johnxiv. 17. 


153 


Crimes of the Manichceans. 


to discuss this question. But clearly, if you are always to be persecuted, even to the end of 
the world, there will be no end to this laxity, and to the unchecked spread of all this immor- 
ality, from your fear of giving offence to men of this character. 

70. This answer was also given to us, when we reported to the very highest authorities 
that a woman had complained to us that in a meeting, where she was along with other women, 
not doubting of the sanctity of these people, some of the elect came in, and when one of 
them had put out the lamp, one, whom she could not distinguish, tried to embrace her, and 
would have forced her into sin, had she not escaped by crying out. How common must we 
conclude the practice to have been which led to the misdeed on this occasion! And this was 
done on the night when you keep the feast of vigils. Forsooth, besides the fear of information 
being given, no one could bring the offender before the bishop, as he had so well guarded 
against being recognized. As if all who entered along with him were not implicated in the 
crime; for in their indecent merriment they all wished the lamp to be put out. 

71. Then what wide doors were opened for suspicions, when we saw them full of envy, 

full of covetousness, full of greed for costly foods, constantly at strife, easily excited about 

trifles! We concluded that they were not competent to abstain from the things they professed 

to abstain from, if they found an opportunity in secret or in the dark. There were two of 

sufficiently good character, of active minds, and leaders in their debates, with whom we had 

a more particular and intimate acquaintance than with the rest. One of them was much 

associated with us, because he was also engaged in liberal studies; he is said to be now an 

elder there. These two were very jealous of one another, and one accused the other — not 

openly, but in conversation, as he had opportunity, and in whispers — of having made a 

criminal assault on the wife of one of the followers. He again, in clearing himself to us, 

brought the same charge against another of the elect, who lived with this follower as his 

most trusted friend. He had, going in suddenly, caught this man with the woman, and his 

enemy and rival had advised the woman and her paramour to raise this false report about 

him, that he might not be believed if he gave any information. We were much distressed, 

and took it greatly to heart, that although there was a doubt about the assault on the woman, 

the jealous feeling in those two men, than whom we found none better in the place, showed 

1 

itself so keenly, and inevitably raised a suspicion of other things. 

72. Another thing was, that we very often saw in theatres men belonging to the elect, 
men of years and, it was supposed, of character, along with a hoary-headed elder. We pass 
over the youths, whom we used to come upon quarrelling about the people connected with 
the stage and the races; from which we may safely conclude how they would be able to refrain 
in secret, when they could not subdue the passion by which they were exposed in the eyes 


188 Doubtless Augustin exaggerates the immorality of the Manichaeans; but there must have been a consid- 
erable basis of fact for his charges. — A.H.N.] 


154 



Crimes of the Manichceans. 


of their followers, bringing on them disgrace and flight. In the case of the saint, whose dis- 
cussions we attended in the street of the fig-sellers, would his atrocious crime have been 
discovered if he had been able to make the dedicated virgin his wife without making her 
pregnant? The swelling womb betrayed the secret and unthought-of iniquity. When her 
brother, a young man, heard of it from his mother, he felt keenly the injury, but refrained, 
from regard to religion, from a public accusation. He succeeded in getting the man expelled 
from that church, for such conduct cannot always be tolerated; and that the crime might 
not be wholly unpunished, he arranged with some of his friends to have the man well beaten 
and kicked. When he was thus assailed, he cried out that they should spare him, from regard 
to the authority of the opinion of Manichseus, that Adam the first hero had sinned, and was 
a greater saint after his sin. 

73. This, in fact, is your notion about Adam and Eve. It is a long story; but I will 
touch only on what concerns the present matter. You say that Adam was produced from 
his parents, the abortive princes of darkness; that he had in his soul the most part of light, 
and very little of the opposite race. So while he lived a holy life, on account of the prevalence 
of good, still the opposite part in him was stirred up, so that he was led away into conjugal 
intercourse. Thus he fell and sinned, but afterwards lived in greater holiness. Now, my 
complaint is not so much about this wicked man, who, under the garb of an elect and holy 
man, brought such shame and reproach on a family of strangers by his shocking immorality. 

I do not charge you with this. Let it be attributed to the abandoned character of the man, 
and not to your habits. I blame the man for the atrocity, and not you. Still there is this in 
you all that cannot, as far as I can see, be admitted or tolerated, that while you hold the soul 
to be part of God, you still maintain that the mixture of a little evil prevailed over the super- 
ior force and quantity of good. Who that believes this, when incited by passion, will not 
find here an excuse, instead of checking and controlling his passion? 


189 Compare the account from the Fihrist, in our Introduction, Chapter III. — A.H.N.] 


155 



Disgraceful Conduct Discovered at Rome. 


Chapter 20. — Disgraceful Conduct Discovered at Rome. 

74. What more shall I say of your customs? I have mentioned what I found myself 
when I was in the city when the things were done. To go through all that happened at Rome 
in my absence would take a long time. I will, however, give a short account of it; for the 
matter became so notorious, that even the absent could not remain in ignorance of it. And 
when I was afterwards in Rome, I ascertained the truth of all I had heard, although the story 
was told me by an eye-witness whom I knew so well and esteemed so highly, that I could 
not feel any doubt about it. One of your followers, then, quite equal to the elect in their far- 
famed abstinence, for he was both liberally educated, and was in the habit of defending your 
sect with great zeal, took it very ill that he had cast in his teeth the vile conduct of the elect, 
who lived in all kinds of places, and went hither and thither for lodging of the worst descrip- 
tion. He therefore desired, if possible, to assemble all who were willing to live according to 
the precepts into his own house, and to maintain them at his own expense; for he was above 
the average in carelessness as to spending money, besides being above the average in the 
amount he had to spend. He complained that his efforts were hindered by the remissness 
of the bishops, whose assistance he required for success. At last one of your bishops was 
found, — a man, as I know, very rude and unpolished, but somehow, from his very morose- 
ness, the more inclined to strict observance of morality. The follower eagerly lays hold of 
this man as the person he had long wished for and found at last, and relates his whole plan. 
He approves and assents, and agrees to be the first to take up his abode in the house. When 
this was done, all the elect who could be at Rome were assembled there. The rule of life in 
the epistle of Manichaeus was laid before them. Many thought it intolerable, and left; not a 
few felt ashamed, and stayed. They began to live as they had agreed, and as this high authority 
enjoined. The follower all the time was zealously enforcing everything on everybody, though 
never, in any case, what he did not undertake himself. Meanwhile quarrels constantly arose 
among the elect. They charged one another with crimes, all which he lamented to hear, and 
managed to make them unintentionally expose one another in their altercations. The rev- 
elations were vile beyond description. Thus appeared the true character of those who were 
unlike the rest in being willing to bend to the yoke of the precepts. What then is to be sus- 
pected, or rather, concluded, of the others? To come to a close, they gathered together on 
one occasion and complained that they could not keep the regulations. Then came rebellion. 
The follower stated his case most concisely, that either all must be kept, or the man who 
had given such a sanction to such precepts, which no one could fulfill, must be thought a 
great fool. But, as was inevitable, the wild clamor of the mob prevailed over the opinion of 
one man. The bishop himself gave way at last, and took to flight with great disgrace; and 
he was said to have got in provisions by stealth, contrary to rule, which were often discovered. 
He had a supply of money from his private purse, which he carefully kept concealed. 


156 



Disgraceful Conduct Discovered at Rome. 


75. If you say these things are false, you contradict what is too clear and public. But 
you may say so if you like. For, as the things are certain, and easily known by those who 
wish to know them, those who deny that they are true show what their habit of telling the 
truth is. But you have other replies with which I do not find fault. For you either say that 
some do keep your precepts, and that they should not be mixed up with the guilty in con- 
demning the others; or that the whole inquiry into the character of the members of your 
sect is wrong, for the question is of the character of the profession. Should I grant both of 
these (although you can neither point out those faithful observers of the precepts, nor clear 
your heresy of all those frivolities and iniquities), still I must insist on knowing why you 
heap reproaches on Christians of the Catholic name on seeing the immoral life of some, 
while you either have the effrontery to repel inquiry about your members, or the still 
greater effrontery not to repel it, wishing it to be understood that in your scanty membership 
there are some unknown individuals who keep the precepts they profess, but that among 
the multitudes in the Catholic Church there are none. 


157 



On Two Souls, Against the Manichceans. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

IN 

91 

ON TWO SOULS, 

AGAINST THE MANICHCEANS. 

[DE DUABUS ANIMABUS CONTRA MANICHCEOS]. 

A.D. 391. 


TRANSLATED BY 


ALBERT H. NEWMAN, D.D., LL.D., 

PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY AND COMPARATIVE RELIGION, IN 
TORONTO BAPTIST (THEOLOGICAL) COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA. 


158 



By What Course of Reasoning the Error of the Manichceans Concerning Two Souls,... 


Concerning Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans. 

[De Duabus Animabus Contra Manichseos.] a.d. 391. 190 



ONE BOOK. 


Chapter 1 . — By What Course of Reasoning the Error of the Manichaeans Concerning 
Two Souls, One of Which is Not from God, is Refuted. Every Soul, Inasmuch 
as It is a Certain Life, Can Have Its Existence Only from God the Source of Life. 

1. Through the assisting mercy of God, the snares of the Manichaeans having been 
broken to pieces and left behind, having been restored at length to the bosom of the Catholic 
Church, I am disposed now at least to consider and to deplore my recent wretchedness. 
For there were many things that I ought to have done to prevent the seeds of the most true 
religion wholesomely implanted in me from boyhood, from being banished from my mind, 
having been uprooted by the error and fraud of false and deceitful men. For, in the first 
place, if I had soberly and diligently considered, with prayerful and pious mind, those two 
kinds of souls to which they attributed natures and properties so distinct that they wished 
one to be regarded as of the very substance of God, but were not even willing that God 
should be accepted as the author of the other; perhaps it would have appeared to me, intent 
on learning, that there is no life whatsoever, which, by the very fact of its being life and in 
so far as it is life at all, does not pertain to the supreme source and beginning of life, 191 which 


190 Scarcely any one of his earlier treatises was more unsatisfactory to Augustin in his later Anti-Pelagian 
years than that Concerning Two Souls. In his Retractations, Book I., chapter xv., he recognizes the rashness of 
some of his statements and points out the sense in which they are tenable or the reverse. As regards the occasion 
of the writing, the following may be quoted: "After this book [De Utilitate Credendi] I wrote, while still a pres- 
byter, against the Manichaeans Concerning Two Souls, of which they say that one part is of God, the other from 
the race of darkness, which God did not found, and which is coeternal with God, and they rave about both these 
souls, the one good, the other evil, being in one man, saying forsooth that the evil soul on the one hand belongs 
to the flesh, which flesh also they say is of the race of darkness; but that the good soul is from the part of God 
that came forth, combated the race of darkness, and mingled with the latter; and they attribute all good things 
in man to that good soul, and all evil things to that evil soul." — A.H.N.] 

191 In his Retractations, Augustin explains this proposition as follows: "I said this in the sense in which the 
creature is known to pertain to the Creator, but not in the sense that it is of Him, so as to be regarded as part of 
Him."— A.H.N. 


159 



By What Course of Reasoning the Error of the Manichceans Concerning Two Souls,... 


we must acknowledge to be nothing else than the supreme and only and true God. 
Wherefore there is no reason why we should not confess, that those souls which the 
Manichaeans call evil are either devoid of life and so not souls, neither will anything positively 
or negatively, neither follow after nor flee from anything; or, if they live so that they can be 
souls, and act as the Manichaeans suppose, in no way do they live unless by life, and if it be 
an established fact, as it is, that Christ has said: "I am the life," that all souls seeing that 
they cannot be souls except by living were created and fashioned by Christ, that is, by the 
Life. 


192 Johnxiv. 6. 


160 


If the Light that is Perceived by Sense Has God for Its Author, as the Manichceans... 


Chapter 2. — If the Light that is Perceived by Sense Has God for Its Author, as the 

Manichseans Acknowledge, Much More The Soul Which is Perceived by Intellect 
Alone. 

2. But if at that time my thought was not able to bear and sustain the question concern 

ing life and partaking of life, which is truly a great question, and one that requires much 
calm discussion among the learned, I might perchance have had power to discover that 
which to every man considering himself, without a study of the individual parts, is perfectly 
evident, namely, that everything we are said to know and to understand, we comprehend 
either by bodily sense or by mental operation. That the five bodily senses are commonly 
enumerated as sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, than all of which intellect is immeasurably 
more noble and excellent, who would have been so ungrateful and impious as not to concede 
to me; which being established and confirmed, we should have seen how it follows, that 
whatsoever things are perceived by touch or sight or in any bodily manner at all, are by so 
much inferior to those things that we comprehend intellectually as the senses are inferior 
to the intellect. Wherefore, since all life, and so every soul, can be perceived by no bodily 
sense, but by the intellect alone, whereas while yonder sun and moon and every luminary 
that is beheld by these mortal eyes, the Manichaeans themselves also say must be attributed 
to the true and good God, it is the height of madness to claim that that belongs to God which 
we observe bodily; but, on the other hand, to think that what we receive not only by the 
mind, but by the highest form of mind, 194 namely, reason and intellect, 195 that is life, 
whatsoever it may be called, nevertheless life, should be deprived and bereft of the same 
God as its author. For if having invoked God, I had asked myself what living is, how inscrut- 
able it is to every bodily sense, how absolutely incorporeal it is, could not I have answered? 
Or would not the Manichaeans also confess not only that the souls they detest live, but that 
they live also immortally? and that Christ’s saying: "Send the dead to bury their dead," 196 
was uttered not with reference to those not living at all, but with reference to sinners, which 
is the only death of the immortal soul; as when Paul writes: "The widow that giveth herself 


193 It will aid the reader in following the thread of Augustin’s argument, if he will bear in mind that 
throughout this treatise the writer considers the points of antagonism between Manichaeism and Catholicism 
from the point of view of his early entanglement in Manichaean error. Considering the opportunities that he 
had for knowing the truth, the helps to have been expected from God in answer to prayer, the capacities of the 
unperverted intellect to arrive at truth, he inquires how he should have guarded himself from the insinuation 
of Manichaean error, how he should have defended the truth, and how he should have been the means of liber- 
ating others. — A.H.N. 

194 Sublimitate animi. 

195 Mente atque intelligentia. 

196 Matt. viii. 22. 


161 


If the Light that is Perceived by Sense Has God for Its Author, as the Manichceans... 


1 Q7 

to pleasure is dead while she liveth," he says that she at the same time is dead, and alive. 
Wherefore I should have directed attention not to the great degree of contamination in 
which the sinful soul lives, but only to the fact itself that it lives. But if I cannot perceive 
except by an act of intelligence, I believe it would have come into the mind, that by as much 
as any mind whatever is to be preferred to the light which we see through these eyes, by so 
much we should give to intellect the preference over the eyes themselves. 


197 1 Tim. v. 6. 


162 


How It is Proved that Every Body Also is from God. That the Soul Which.. . 


Chapter 3. — How It is Proved that Every Body Also is from God. That the Soul 

Which is Called Evil by the Manichseans is Better Than Light. 

They also affirm that the light is from the Father of Christ: should I then have doubted 
that every soul is from Him? But not even then, as a man forsooth so inexperienced and so 
youthful as I was, should I have been in doubt as to the derivation not only of the soul, but 
also of the body, nay of everything whatsoever, from Him, if I had reverently and cautiously 
reflected on what form is, or what has been formed, what shape is and what has been endued 
with shape. 

3. But not to speak at present concerning the body, I lament concerning the soul, con- 
cerning spontaneous and vivid movement, concerning action, concerning life, concerning 
immortality; in fine, I lament that I, miserable, should have believed that anything could 
have all these properties apart from the goodness of God, which properties, great as they 
are, I sadly neglected to consider; this I think, should be to me a matter of groaning and of 
weeping. I should have inwardly pondered these things, I should have discussed them with 
myself, I should have referred them to others, I should have propounded the inquiry, what 
the power of knowing is, seeing there is nothing in man that we can compare to this excel- 
lency? And as men, if only they had been men, would have granted me this, I should have 
inquired whether seeing with these eyes is knowing? In case they had answered negatively, 
I should first have concluded, that mental intelligence is vastly inferior to ocular sensation; 
then I should have added, that what we perceive by means of a better thing must needs be 
judged to be itself better. Who would not grant this? I should have gone on to inquire, 
whether that soul which they call evil is an object of ocular sensation or of mental intelli- 
gence? They would have acknowledged that the latter is the case. All which things having 
been agreed upon and confirmed between us, I should have shown how it follows, that that 
soul forsooth which they execrate, is better than that light which they venerate, since the 
former is an object of mental knowledge, the latter an object of corporeal sense perception. 
But here perhaps they would have halted, and would have refused to follow the lead of 
reason, so great is the power of inveterate opinion and of falsehood long defended and be- 
lieved. But I should have pressed yet more upon them halting, not harshly, not in puerile 
fashion, not obstinately; I should have repeated the things that had been conceded, and have 
shown how they must be conceded. I should have exhorted that they consult in common, 
that they may see clearly what must be denied to us; whether they think it false that intellec- 
tual perception is to be preferred to these carnal organs of sight, or that what is known by 
means of the excellency of the mind is more excellent than what is known by vile corporeal 
sensation; whether they would be unwilling to confess that those souls which they think 
heterogenous, can be known only by intellectual perception, that is, by the excellency itself 
of the mind; whether they would wish to deny that the sun and the moon are made known 
to us only by means of these eyes. But if they had replied that no one of these things could 


163 



How It is Proved that Every Body Also is from God. That the Soul Which.. . 


be denied otherwise than most absurdly and most impudently, I should have urged that 
they ought not to doubt but that the light whose worthiness of worship they proclaim, is 
viler than that soul which they admonish men to flee. 


164 



Even the Soul of a Fly is More Excellent Than the Light. 


Chapter 4. — Even the Soul of a Fly is More Excellent Than the Light. 

4. And here, if perchance in their confusion they had inquired of me whether I thought 
that the soul even of a fly surpasses that light, I should have replied, yes, nor should it 
have troubled me that the fly is little, but it should have confirmed me that it is alive. For 
it is inquired, what causes those members so diminutive to grow, what leads so minute a 
body here and there according to its natural appetite, what moves its feet in numerical order 
when it is running, what regulates and gives vibration to its wings when flying? This thing 
whatever it is in so small a creature towers up so prominently to one well considering, that 
it excels any lightning flashing upon the eyes. 


198 Neither Augustin nor the Manichaeans seem to have recognized the distinction in kind between the human 
soul and animal life. — A.H.N. 


165 



How Vicious Souls, However Worthy of Condemnation They May Be, Excel the... 


Chapter 5. — How Vicious Souls, However Worthy of Condemnation They May Be, 

Excel the Light Which is Praiseworthy in Its Kind. 

Certainly nobody doubts that whatever is an object of intellectual perception, by virtue 
of divine laws surpasses in excellence every sensible object and consequently also this light. 
For what, I ask, do we perceive by thought, if not that it is one thing to know with the mind, 
and another thing to experience bodily sensations, and that the former is incomparably 
more sublime than the latter, and so that intelligible things must needs be preferred to 
sensible things, since the intellect itself is so highly exalted above the senses? 

5. Hence this also I should perchance have known, which manifestly follows, since in- 
justice and intemperance and other vices of the mind are not objects of sense, but of intellect, 
how it comes about that these too which we detest and consider condemnable, yet in as 
much as they are objects of intellect, can outrank this light however praiseworthy it may be 
in its kind. For it is borne in upon the mind subjecting itself well to God, that, first of all, 
not everything that we praise is to be preferred to everything that we find fault with. For in 
praising the purest lead, I do not therefore put a higher value upon it than upon the gold 
that I find fault with. For everything must be considered in its kind. I disapprove of a lawyer 
ignorant of many statutes, yet I so prefer him to the most approved tailor, that I should 
think him incomparably superior. But I praise the tailor because he is thoroughly skilled 
in his own craft, while I rightly blame the lawyer because he imperfectly fulfills the functions 
of his profession. Wherefore I should have found out that the light which in its own kind 
is perfect, is rightly to be praised; yet because it is included in the number of sensible things, 
which class must needs yield to the class of intelligible things, it must be ranked below unj ust 
and intemperate souls, since these are intelligible; although we may without injustice judge 
these to be most worthy of condemnation. For in the case of these we ask that they be re- 
conciled to God, not that they be preferred to that lightning. Wherefore, if any one had 
contended that this luminary is from God, I should not have opposed; but rather I should 
have said, that souls, even vicious ones, not in so far as they are vicious, but in so far as they 
are souls, must be acknowledged to be creatures of God. 


166 



Whether Even Vices Themselves as Objects of Intellectual Apprehension are... 


Chapter 6. — Whether Even Vices Themselves as Objects of Intellectual Apprehension 
are to Be Preferred to Light as an Object of Sense Perception, and are to Be At- 
tributed to God as Their Author. Vice of the Mind and Certain Defects are Not 
Rightly to Be Counted Among Intelligible Things. Defects Themselves Even If 
They Should Be Counted Among Intelligible Things Should Never Be Put Before 
Sensible Things. If Light is Visible by God, Much More is the Soul, Even If Vi- 
cious, Which in So Far as It Lives is an Intelligible Thing. Passages of Scripture 
are Adduced by the Manichseans to the Contrary. 


At this point, in case some one of them, cautious and watchful, now also more studious 
than pertinacious, had admonished me that the inquiry is not about vicious souls but about 
vices themselves, which, seeing that they are not known by corporeal sense, and yet are 
known, can only be received as objects of intellectual apprehension, which if they excel all 
objects of sense, why can we not agree in attributing light to God as its author, but only a 
sacrilegious person would say that God is the author of vices; I should have replied to the 
man, if either on the spur of the moment, as is customary to the worshippers of the good 
God, a solution of this question had darted like lightning from on high, or a solution had 
been previously prepared. If I had not deserved or was unable to avail myself of either of 
these methods, I should have deferred the undertaking, and should have confessed that the 
thing propounded was difficult to discern and arduous. I should have withdrawn to myself, 
prostrated myself before God, groaned aloud asking Him not to suffer me to halt in mid 
space, when I should have moved forward with assured arguments, asking Him that I might 
not be compelled by a doubtful question either to subordinate intelligible things to sensible, 
and to yield, or to call Himself the author of vices; since either of these alternatives would 
have been absolutely full of falsehood and impiety. I can by no means suppose that He 
would have deserted me in such a frame of mind. Rather, in His own ineffable way, He 
would have admonished me to consider again and again whether vices of mind concerning 
which I was so troubled should be reckoned among intelligible things. But that I might find 
out, on account of the weakness of my inner eye, which rightly befell me on account of my 
sins, I should have devised some sort of stage for gazing upon spiritual things in visible 
things themselves, of which we have by no means a surer knowledge, but a more confident 
familiarity. Therefore I should straightway have inquired, what properly pertains to the 
sensation of the eyes. I should have found that it is the color, the dominion of which the 
light holds. For these are the things that no other sense touches, for the motions and mag- 
nitudes and intervals and figures of bodies, although they also can be perceived by the eyes, 
yet to perceive such is not their peculiar function, but belongs also to touch. Whence I 
should have gathered that by as much as yonder light excels other corporeal and sensible 
things, by so much is sight more noble than the other senses. The light therefore having 


167 



Whether Even Vices Themselves as Objects of Intellectual Apprehension are... 


been selected from all the things that are perceived by bodily sense, by this [light] I should 
have striven, and in this of necessity I should have placed that stage of my inquiry. I should 
have gone on to consider what might be done in this way, and thus I should have reasoned 
with myself: If yonder sun, conspicuous by its brightness and sufficing for day by its light, 
should little by little decline in our sight into the likeness of the moon, would we perceive 
anything else with our eyes than light however refulgent, yet seeking light by reason of not 
seeing what had been, and using it for seeing what was present? Therefore we should not 
see the decline, but the light that should survive the decline. But since we should not see, 
we should not perceive; for whatever we perceive by sight must necessarily be seen; wherefore 
if that decline were perceived neither by sight nor by any other sense, it cannot be reckoned 
among objects of sense. For nothing is an object of sense that cannot be perceived by sense. 
Let us apply now the consideration to virtue, by whose intellectual light we most fittingly 
say the mind shines. Again, a certain decline from this light of virtue, not destroying the 
soul, but obscuring it, is called vice. Therefore also vice can by no means be reckoned among 
objects of intellectual perception, as that decline of light is rightly excluded from the number 
of objects of sense perception. Yet what remains of soul, that is that which lives and is soul 
is just as much an object of intellectual perception as that is an object of sense perception 
which should shine in this visible luminary after any imaginable degree of decline. And so 
the soul, in so far as it is soul and partakes of life, without which it can in no way be soul, is 
most correctly to be preferred to all objects of sense perception. Wherefore it is most erro- 
neous to say that any soul is not from God, from whom you boast that the sun and moon 
have their existence. 

7. But if now it should be thought fit to designate as objects of sense perception not 
only all those things that we perceive by the senses, but also all those things that though not 
perceiving by the senses we judge of by means of the body, as of darkness through the eyes, 
of silence through the ears, — for not by seeing darkness and not by hearing silence do we 
know of their existence, — and again, in the case of objects of intellectual perception, not 
those things only which we see illuminated by the mind, as is wisdom itself, but also those 
things which by the illumination itself we avoid, such as foolishness, which I might fittingly 
designate mental darkness; I should have made no controversy about a word, but should 
have dissolved the whole question by an easy division, and straightway I should have proved 
to those giving good attention, that by the divine law of truth intelligible subsistences are 
to be preferred to sensible subsistences, not the decline of these subsistences, even though 
we should choose to call these intelligible, those sensible. Wherefore, that those who ac- 
knowledge that these visible luminaries and those intelligible souls are subsistences, are in 
every way compelled to grant and to attribute the sublimer part to souls; but that defects of 
either kind cannot be preferred the one to the other, for they are only privative and indicate 
nonexistence, and therefore have precisely the same force as negations themselves. For 


168 



Whether Even Vices Themselves as Objects of Intellectual Apprehension are... 


when we say, It is not gold, and, It is not virtue, although there is the greatest possible differ- 
ence between gold and virtue, yet there is no difference between the negations that we adjoin 
to them. But that it is worse indeed not to be virtue than not to be gold, no sane man doubts. 
Who does not know that the difference lies not in the negations themselves, but in the things 
to which they are adjoined? For by as much as virtue is more excellent than gold, by so 
much is it more wretched to be in want of virtue than of gold. Wherefore, since intelligible 
things excel sensible things, we rightly feel greater repugnance towards defect in intelligible 
than in sensible things, esteeming not the defects, but the things that are deficient more or 
less precious. From which now it appears, that defect of light, which is intelligible, is far 
more wretched than defect of the sensible light, because, forsooth, life which is known is by 
far more precious than yonder light which is seen. 

8. This being the case, who will dare, while attributing sun and moon, and whatever is 
refulgent in the stars, nay in this fire of ours and in this visible earthly life, to God, to decline 
to grant that any souls whatsoever, which are not souls except by the fact of their being 
perfectly alive, since in this fact alone life has the precedence of light, are from God. And 
since he speaks truth who says, In as far as a thing shines it is from God, would I speak 
falsely, mighty God, if I should say, In so far as a thing lives it is from God? Let not, I beseech 
thee, blindness of intellect and perversions of mind be increased to such an extent that men 
may fail to know these things. But however great their error and pertinacity might have 
been, trusting in these arguments and armed therewith, I believe that when I should have 
laid the matter before them thus considered and canvassed, and should have calmly conferred 
with them, I should have feared lest any one of them should have seemed to me to be of any 
consequence, should he endeavor to subordinate or even to compare to bodily sense, or to 
those things that pertain to bodily sense as objects of knowledge, either intellect or those 
things that are perceived (not by way of defect) by the intellect. Which point having been 
settled, how would he or any other have dared to deny that such souls as he would consider 
evil, yet since they are souls, are to be reckoned in the number of intelligible things, nor are 
objects of intellectual perception byway of defect? This is on the supposition that souls are 
souls only by being alive. For if they were intellectually perceived as vicious through defect, 
being vicious by lack of virtue, yet they are perceived as souls not through defect, for they 
are souls by reason of being alive. Nor can it be maintained that presence of life is a cause 
of defect, for by as much as anything is defective, by so much is it severed from life. 

9. Since therefore it would have been every way evident that no souls can be separated 
from that Author from whom yonder light is not separated, whatever they might have now 
adduced I should not have accepted, and should rather have admonished them that they 
should choose with me to follow those who maintain that whatever is, since it is, and in 
whatever degree it is, has its existence from the one God. 


169 



How Evil Men are of God, and Not of God. 


Chapter 7. — How Evil Men are of God, and Not of God. 

They might have cited against me those words of the gospel: "Ye therefore do not hear, 
because ye are not of God;" "Ye are of your father the devil." 199 I also should have cited: 
"All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made," 200 and this of the 
Apostle: "One God of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are 
all things," and again from the same Apostle: "Of whom are all things, through whom 
are all things, in whom are all things, to Him be glory." I should have exhorted those 
men (if indeed I had found them men), that we should presume upon nothing as if we had 
found it out, but should rather inquire of the masters who would demonstrate the agreement 
and harmony of those passages that seem to be discordant. For when in one and the same 
Scriptural authority we read: "All things are of God," and elsewhere: "Ye are not of God," 

since it is wrong rashly to condemn books of Scripture, who would not have seen that a 
skilled teacher should be found who would know a solution of this problem, from whom 
assuredly if endowed with good intellectual powers, and a "spiritual man," as is said by divine 
inspiration 204 (for he would necessarily have favored the true arguments concerning the 
intelligible and sensible nature, which, as far as I can, I have conducted and handled, nay 
he would have disclosed them far better and more convincingly); we should have heard 
nothing else concerning this problem, except, as might happen, that there is no class of souls 
but has its existence from God, and that it is yet rightly said to sinners and unbelievers: "Ye 
are not of God." For we also, perchance, Divine aid having been implored, should have 
been able easily to see, that it is one thing to live and another to sin, and (although life in 
sin may be called death in comparison with just life,“ and while in one man it may be 
found, that he is at the same time alive and a sinner) that so far as he is alive, he is of God, 
so far as he is a sinner he is not of God. In which division we use that alternative that suits 
our sentiment; so that when we wish to insist upon the omnipotence of God as Creator, we 
may say even to sinners that they are of God. For we are speaking to those who are contained 
in some class, we are speaking to those having animal life, we are speaking to rational beings, 
we are speaking lastly — and this applies especially to the matter in hand — to living beings, 
all which things are essentially divine functions. But when our purpose is to convict evil 
men, we rightly say: "Ye are not of God." For we speak to them as averse to truth, unbeliev- 


199 

John viii. 47 and 44. 

200 

John i. 3. 

201 

1 Cor. viii. 6. 

202 

Rom. xi. 36. 

203 

1 Cor. xi. 12. 

204 

1 Cor. ii. 15. 

205 

1 Tim. v. 6. 


170 


How Evil Men are of God, and Not of God. 


ing, criminal, infamous, and, to sum up all in one term — sinners, all of which things are 
undoubtedly not of God. Therefore what wonder is it, if Christ says to sinners, convicting 
them of this very thing that they were sinners and did not believe in Him: "Ye are not of 
God;" and on the other hand, without prejudice to the former statement: "All things were 
made through Him," and "All things are of God?" For if not to believe Christ, to repudiate 
Christ’s advent, not to accept Christ, was a sure mark of souls that are not of God; and so 
it was said: "Ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God;" how would that saying of 
the apostle be true that occurs in the memorable beginning of the gospel: "He came unto 

OA/r 

his own things, and his own people did not receive him?" Whence his own if they did 
not receive him; or whence therefore not his own because they did not receive him, unless 
that sinners by virtue of being men belong to God, but by virtue of being sinners belong to 
the devil? He who says: "His own people received him not" had reference to nature; but he 
who says: "Ye are not of God." had reference to will; for the evangelist was commending 
the works of God, Christ was censuring the sins of men. 


206 John i. 11. 


171 


The Manichceans Inquire Whence is Evil and by This Question Think They Have... 


Chapter 8. — The Manichseans Inquire Whence is Evil and by This Question Think 
They Have Triumphed. Let Them First Know, Which is Most Easy to Do, that 

Nothing Can Live Without God. Consummate Evil Cannot Be Known Except 

by the Knowledge of Consummate Good, Which is God. 

Here perchance some one may say: Whence are sins themselves, and whence is evil in 
general? If from man, whence is man? if from an angel, whence is the angel? When it is 
said, however truly and rightly, that these are from God, it nevertheless seems to those un- 
skillful and possessed of little power to look into recondite matters, that evils and sins are 
thereby connected, as by a sort of chain, to God. By this question they think themselves 
triumphant, as if forsooth to ask were to know; — would it were so, for in that case no one 
would be more knowing than myself. Yet very often in controversy the propounder of a 
great question, while impersonating the great teacher, is himself more ignorant in the matter 
concerning which he would frighten his opponent, than he whom he would frighten. 

These therefore suppose that they are superior to the common run, because the former 
ask questions that the latter cannot answer. If therefore when I most unfortunately was as- 
sociated with them, not in the position in which I have now for some time been, they had 
raised these objections when I had brought forward this argument, I should have said: I 
ask that you meanwhile agree with me, which is most easy, that if nothing can shine without 
God, much less can anything live without God. Let us not persist in such monstrous opinions 
as to maintain that any souls whatsoever have life apart from God. For perchance it may 
so happen that with me you are ignorant as to this thing, namely whence is evil, let us then 
learn either simultaneously or in any order, I care not what. For what if knowledge of the 
perfection of evil is impossible to man without knowledge of the perfection of good? For 
we should not know darkness if we were always in darkness. But the notion of light does 
not allow its opposite to be unknown. But the highest good is that than which there is 
nothing higher. But God is good and than Him nothing can be higher. God therefore is 
the highest good. Let us therefore together so recognize God, and thus what we seek too 
hastily will not be hidden from us. Do you suppose then that the knowledge of God is a 
matter of small account or desert. For what other reward is there for us than life eternal, 
which is to know God? For God the Master says: "But this is life eternal, that they might 
know Thee the only and true God, and fesus Christ whom thou hast sent."“ For the soul, 
although it is immortal, yet because aversion from the knowledge of God is rightly called 
its death, when it is converted to God, the reward of eternal life to be attained is that 
knowledge; so that this is, as has been said, eternal life. But no one can be converted to God, 
except he turn himself away from this world. This for myself I feel to be arduous and ex- 
ceedingly difficult, whether it is easy to you, God Himself would have seen. I should have 


207 John xvii. 3. 


172 


The Manichceans Inquire Whence is Evil and by This Question Think They Have... 


been inclined to think it easy to you, had I not been moved by the fact, that, since the world 
from which we are commanded to turn away is visible, and the apostle says: "The things 
that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal," you ascribe more 
importance to the judgment of these eyes than to that of the mind, asserting and believing 
as you do that there is no shining feather that does not shine from God; and that there are 
living souls that do not live from God. These and like things I should either have said to 
them or considered with myself, for even then, supplicating God with all my bowels, so to 
speak, and examining as attentively as possible the Scriptures, I should perchance have been 
able either to say such things or to think them, so far as was necessary for my salvation. 


208 2 Cor. iv. 18. 


173 


Augustin Deceived by Familiarity with the Manichceans, and by the Succession... 


Chapter 9. — Augustin Deceived by Familiarity with the Manichseans, and by the 
Succession of Victories Over Ignorant Christians Reported by Them. The 
Manichseans are Likewise Easily Refuted from the Knowledge of Sin and the 
Will. 

But two things especially, which easily lay hold upon that unwary age, urged me through 
wonderful circuits. One of these was familiarity, suddenly, by a certain false semblance of 
goodness, wrapped many times around my neck as a certain sinuous chain. The other was, 
that I was almost always noxiously victorious in arguing with ignorant Christians who yet 
eagerly attempted, each as he could, to defend their faith. 209 By which frequent success the 
ardor of youth was kindled, and by its own impulse rashly verged upon the great evil of 
stubbornness. For this kind of wrangling, after I had become an auditor among them, 
whatever I was able to do either by my own genius, such as it was, or by reading the works 
of others, I most gladly devoted to them alone. Accordingly from their speeches ardor in 
disputations was daily increased, from success in disputations love for them [the 
Manichseans] . Whence it resulted that whatever they said, as if affected by certain strange 
disorders, I approved of as true, not because I knew it to be true, but because I wished it to 
be. So it came about that, however slowly and cautiously, yet for a long time I followed men 
that preferred a sleek straw to a living soul. 

12. So be it, I was not able at that time to distinguish and discern sensible from intelligible 
things, carnal forsooth from spiritual. It did not belong to age, nor to discipline, nor even 
to any habit, nor, finally, to any deserts; for it is a matter of no small joy and felicitation: 
had I not thus been able at length even to grasp that which in the judgment of all men nature 
itself by the laws of the most High God has established? 


209 Nothing is more certain than that Christianity has suffered more at the hands of injudicious and ignorant 
defenders than from its most astute and determined foes. Little attention would be paid to the blatant infidels 
of the present day were it not for the interest aroused and sustained by weak attempts to refute their arguments. 
And as the youthful, ardent Augustin was encouraged and confirmed in his errors by the inability of his opponents, 
so are errors confirmed at the present day. The philosophical defence of Christianity is a matter of the utmost 
delicacy, and should be undertaken with fear and trembling. — A.H.N. 


174 



Sin is Only from the Will. His Own Life and Will Best Known to Each Individual. ... 


Chapter 10. — Sin is Only from the Will. His Own Life and Will Best Known to Each 

Individual. What Will is. 

For let any men whatever, if only no madness has broken them loose from the common 
sense of the human race, bring whatever zeal they like for judging, whatever ignorance, nay 
whatever slowness of mind, I should like to find out what they would have replied to me 
had I asked, whether a man would seem to them to have sinned by whose hand while he 
was asleep another should have written something disgraceful? Who doubts that they would 
have denied that it is a sin, and have exclaimed against it so vehemently that they might 
perchance have been enraged that I should have thought them proper objects of such a 
question? Of whom reconciled and restored to equanimity, as best I could do it, I should 
have begged that they would not take it amiss if I asked them another thing just as manifest, 
just as completely within the knowledge of all. Then I should have asked, if some stronger 
person had done some evil thing by the hand of one not sleeping but conscious, yet with 
the rest of his members bound and in constraint, whether because he knew it, though abso- 
lutely unwilling, he should be held guilty of any sin? And here all marvelling that I should 
ask such questions, would reply without hesitation, that he had absolutely not sinned at all. 
Why so? Because whoever has done anything evil by means of one unconscious or unable 
to resist, the latter can by no means be justly condemned. And precisely why this is so, if I 
should inquire of the human nature in these men, I should easily bring out the desired answer, 
by asking in this manner: Suppose that the sleeper already knew what the other would do 
with his hand, and of purpose aforethought, having drunk so much as would prevent his 
being awakened, should go to sleep, in order to deceive some one with an oath. Would any 
amount of sleep suffice to prove his innocence? What else than a guilty man would one 
pronounce him? But if he has also willingly been bound that he may deceive some one by 
this pretext, in what respect then would those chains profit as a means of relieving him of 
sin? Although bound by these he was really not able to resist, as in the other case the 
sleeper was absolutely ignorant of what he was then doing. Is there therefore any possibility 
of doubting that both should be judged to have sinned? Which things having been conceded, 
I should have argued, that sin is indeed nowhere but in the will, since this consideration 

210 The Pelagians used this statement with considerable effect in their polemics against its author. In his 
Retractations Augustin has this to say by way of explanation: "The Pelagians may think that thus was said in 
their interest, on account of young children whose sin which is remitted to them in baptism they deny on the 
ground that they do not yet use the power of will. As if indeed the sin, which we say they derive originally from 
Adam, that is, that they are implicated in his guilt and on this account are held obnoxious to punishment, could 
ever be otherwise than in will, by which will it was committed when the transgression of the divine precept was 
accomplished. Our statement, that ‘there is never sin but in will,’ may be thought false for the reason that the 
apostle says: ‘If what I will not this I do, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.’ For this sin is 


175 



Sin is Only from the Will. His Own Life and Will Best Known to Each Individual. ... 


also would have helped me, that justice holds guilty those sinning by evil will alone, although 
they may have been unable to accomplish what they willed. 

13. For who could have said that, in adducing these considerations, I was dwelling upon 
obscure and recondite things, where on account of the fewness of those able to understand, 
either fraud or suspicion of ostentation is accustomed to arise? Let that distinction between 
intelligible and sensible things withdraw for a little: let me not be found fault with for fol- 
lowing up slow minds with the stimuli of subtle disputations. Permit me to know that I 
live, permit me to know that I will to live. If in this the human race agrees, as our life is 
known to us, so also is our will. Nor when we become possessed of this knowledge, is there 
any occasion to fear lest any one should convince us that we may be deceived; for no one 
can be deceived as to whether he does not live, or wishes nothing. I do not think that I have 
adduced anything obscure, and my concern is rather lest some should find fault with me 
for dwelling on things that are too manifest. But let us consider the bearing of these things. 

14. Sinning therefore takes place only by exercise of will. But our will is very well known 
to us; for neither should I know that I will, if I did not know what will itself is. Accordingly, 


to such an extent involuntary, that he says: ‘What I will not this I do.’ How, therefore, is there never sin but in 
the will? But this sin concerning which the apostle has spoken is called sin, because by sin it was done, and it 
is the penalty of sin; since this is said concerning carnal concupiscence, which he discloses in what follows saying: 
‘I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good; for to will is present to me, but to accomplish that 
which is good, is not.’ (Rom. vii. 16-18). Since the perfection of good is, that not even the concupiscence of sin 
should be in man, to which indeed when one lives well the will does not consent; nevertheless man does not 
accomplish the good because as yet concupiscence is in him, to which the will is antagonistic, the guilt of which 
concupiscence is loosed by baptism, but the infirmity remains, against which until it is healed every believer 
who advances well most earnestly struggles. But sin, which is never but in will, must especially be known as 
that which is followed by just condemnation. For this through one man entered into the world; although that 
sin also by which consent is yielded to concupiscence is not committed but by will. Wherefore also in another 
place I have said: ‘Not therefore except by will is sin committed.’" — A.H.N. On this matter Augustin’s still 
earlier treatise De Libero Arbitrio, and his interesting Retractations on the same, should be compared. The 
reader of these earlier treatises in comparison with the Anti-Pelagian treatises can hardly fail to recognize a 
marked change of base on Augustin’s part. His efforts to show the consistency of his earlier with his later modes 
of thought are to be pronounced only partially successful. The fact is, that in the Anti-Manichaean time he went 
too far in maintaining the absolute freedom of the will and the impossibility of sin apart from personal will in 
the sinner; while in the Anti-Pelagian time he ventured too near to the fatalism that he so earnestly combated 
in the Manichaeans. — A.H.N. 


176 


Sin is Only from the Will. His Own Life and Will Best Known to Each Individual. ... 


it is thus defined: will is a movement of mind, no one compelling, either for not losing or 
for obtaining something. - Why therefore could not I have so defined it then? Was it 
difficult to see that one unwilling is contrary to one willing, just as the left hand is contrary 
to the right, not as black to white? For the same thing cannot be at the same time black and 
white. But whoever is placed between two men is on the left hand with reference to one, 
on the right with reference to the other. One man is both on the right hand and on the left 
hand at the same time, but by no means both to the one man. So indeed one mind may be 
at the same time unwilling and willing, but it cannot be at the same time unwilling and 
willing with reference to one and the same thing. For when any one unwillingly does any- 
thing; if you ask him whether he wished to do it, he says that he did not. Likewise if you 
ask whether he wished not to do it, he replies that he did. So you will find him unwilling 
with reference to doing, willing with reference to not doing, that is to say, one mind at the 
same time having both attitudes, but each referring to different things. Why do I say this? 
Because if we should again ask wherefore though unwilling he does this, he will say that he 
is compelled. For every one also who does a thing unwillingly is compelled, and every one 
who is compelled, if he does a thing, does it only unwillingly. It follows that he that is willing 
is free from compulsion, even if any one thinks himself compelled. And in this manner 
every one who willingly does a thing is not compelled, and whoever is not compelled, either 
does it willingly or not at all. Since nature itself proclaims these things in all men whom we 
can interrogate without absurdity, from the boy even to the old man, from literary sport 
even to the throne of the wise, why then should I not have seen that in the definition of will 


211 This dictum also Augustin thought it needful to explain: "This was said that by this definition a willing 
person might be distinguished from one not willing, and so the intention might be referred to those who first 
in Paradise were the origin of evil to the human race, by sinning no one compelling, that is by sinning with free 
will, because also knowingly they sinned against the command, and the tempters persuaded, did not compel, 
that this should be done. For he who ignorantly sinned may not incongruously be said to have sinned unwillingly, 
although not knowing what he did, yet willingly he did it. So not even the sin of such a one could be without 
will, which will assuredly, as it has been defined, was a ‘movement of the mind, no one compelling, either for 
not losing or for obtaining something.’ For he was not compelled to do what if he had been unwilling he would 
not have done. Because he willed, therefore he did it, even if he did not sin because he willed, being ignorant 
that what he did is sin. So not even such a sin could be without will, but by will of deed not by will of sin, which 
deed was yet sin; for this deed is what ought not to have taken place. But whoever knowingly sins, if he can 
without sin resist the one compelling him to sin, yet resists not, assuredly sins willingly. For he who can resist 
is not compelled to yield. But he who cannot by good will resist cogent covetousness, and therefore does what 
is contrary to the precepts of righteousness, this now is sin in the sense of being the penalty of sin. Wherefore 
it is most true that sin cannot be apart from will." It is needless to say that such reasoning would not have 
answered Augustin’s purpose in writing against the Manichaeans. — A.H.N. 


177 



Sin is Only from the Will. His Own Life and Will Best Known to Each Individual. ... 


should be put, "no one compelling," which now as if with greater experience most cautiously 
I have done. But if this is everywhere manifest, and promptly occurs to all not by instruction 
but by nature, what is there left that seems obscure, unless perchance it be concealed from 
some one, that when we wish for something, we will, and our mind is moved towards it, 
and we either have it or do not have it, and if we have it we will to retain it, if we have it not, 
to acquire it? Wherefore everyone who wills, wills either not to lose something or to obtain 
it. Hence if all these things are clearer than day, as they are, nor are they given to my con- 
ception alone, but by the liberality of truth itself to the whole human race, why could I not 
have said even at that time: Will is a movement of the mind, no one compelling, either for 
not losing or for obtaining something? 


178 



What Sin is. 


Chapter 11. — What Sin is. 

Some one will say: What assistance would this have furnished you against the 
Manichaeans? Wait a moment; permit me first also to define sin, which, every mind reads 
divinely written in itself, cannot exist apart from will. Sin therefore is the will to retain and 
follow after what justice forbids, and from which it is free to abstain. 212 Although if it be 
not free, it is not will. But I have preferred to define more roughly than precisely. Should 
I not also have carefully examined those obscure books, whence I might have learned that 
no one is worthy of blame or punishment who either wills what justice does not prohibit 
him from willing, or does not do what he is not able to do? Do not shepherds on mountains, 
poets in theatres, unlearned in social intercourse, learned in libraries, masters in schools, 
priests in consecrated places, and the human race throughout the whole world, sing out 
these things? But if no one is worthy of blame and condemnation, who either does not act 
against the prohibition of justice, or who does not do what he cannot do, yet every sin is 
blameworthy and condemnable, who doubts then that it is sin, when willing is unjust, and 
not willing is free. And hence that definition is both true and easy to understand, and not 
only now but then also could have been spoken by me: Sin is the will of retaining or of ob- 
taining, what justice forbids, and whence it is free to abstain? 


212 Here also Augustin guards himself in his Retractations: "The definition is true, inasmuch as that is 
defined which is only sin, and not also that which is the penalty of sin." — A.H.N. 


179 



From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, Fie Overthrows the Entire Heresy... 


Chapter 12. — From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, He Overthrows the Entire 

Heresy of the Manichaeans. Likewise from the Just Condemnation of Evil Souls 
It Follows that They are Evil Not by Nature But by Will. That Souls are Good 

By Nature, to Which the Pardon of Sins is Granted. 

16. Come now, let us see in what respect these things would have aided us. Much every 
way, so that I should have desired nothing more; for they end the whole cause; for whoever 
consulting in the inner mind, where they are more pronounced and assured, the secrets of 
his own conscience, and the divine laws absolutely imposed upon nature, grants that these 
two definitions of will and sin are true, condemns without any hesitation by the fewest and 
the briefest, but plainly the most invincible reasons, the whole heresy of the Manichaeans. 
Which can be thus considered. They say that there are two kinds of souls, the one good, 
which is in such a way from God, that it is said not to have been made by Him out of any 
material or out of nothing, but to have proceeded as a certain part from the very substance 
itself of God; the other evil, which they believe and strive to get others to believe pertains 
to God in no way whatever; and so they maintain that the one is the perfection of good, but 
the other the perfection of evil, and that these two classes were at one time distinct but are 
now commingled. The character and the cause of this commingling I had not yet heard; 
but nevertheless I could have inquired whether that evil kind of souls, before it was mingled 
with the good, had any will. For if not, it was without sin and innocent, and so by no means 
evil. But if evil in such a way, that though without will, as fire, yet if it should touch the 
good it would violate and corrupt it; how impious it is to believe that the nature of evil is 
powerful enough to change any part of God, and that the Highest Good is corruptible and 
violable! But if the will was present, assuredly there was present, no one compelling, a 
movement of the mind either towards not losing something or obtaining something. But 
this something was either good, or was thought to be good, for not otherwise could it be 
earnestly desired. But in supreme evil, before the commingling which they maintain, there 
never was any good. Whence then could there be in it either the knowledge or the thought 
of good? Did they wish for nothing that was in themselves, and earnestly desire that true 
good which was without? That will must truly be declared worthy of distinguished and 
great praise by which is earnestly desired the supreme and true good. Whence then in su- 
preme evil was this movement of mind most worthy of so great praise? Did they seek it for 
the sake of injuring it? In the first place, the argument comes to the same thing. For he 
who wishes to injure, wishes to deprive another of some good for the sake of some good of 


213 In his Retractations, Augustin replies to the Pelagian denial of the sinfulness of infants, in support of 
which they had quoted the above sentence. "They [infants] are held guilty not by propriety of will but by origin. 
For what is every earthly man in origin but Adam?" The will of the whole human race was in Adam, and when 
Adam sinned the whole race voluntarily sinned, seems to be his meaning. — A.H.N. 


180 



From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, Fie Overthrows the Entire Heresy... 


his own. There was therefore in them either a knowledge of good or an opinion of good, 
which ought by no means to belong to supreme evil. In the second place, whence had they 
known, that good placed outside of themselves, which they designed to injure, existed at 
all. If they had intellectually perceived it, what is more excellent than such a mind? Is there 
anything else for which the whole energy of good men is put forth except the knowledge of 
that supreme and sincere good? What therefore is now scarcely conceded to a few good 
and just men, was mere evil, no good assisting, then able to accomplish? But if those souls 
bore bodies and saw the supreme good with their eyes, what tongues, what hearts, what in- 
tellects suffice for lauding and proclaiming those eyes, with which the minds of just men 
can scarcely be compared? How great good things we find in supreme evil! For if to see 
God is evil, God is not a good; but God is a good; therefore to see God is good; and I know 
not what can be compared to this good. Since to see anything is good, whence can it be 
made out that to be able to see is evil? Therefore whatever in those eyes or in those minds 
brought it about, that the divine essence could be seen by them, brought about a great thing 
and a good thing most worthy of ineffable praise. But if it was not brought about, but it was 
such in itself and eternal, it is difficult to find anything better than this evil. 

17. Lastly, that these souls may have nothing of these praiseworthy things which by the 
reasonings of the Manichaeans they are compelled to have, I should have asked, whether 
God condemns any or no souls. If none, there is no judgment of rewards and punishments, 
no providence, and the world is administered by chance rather than by reason, or rather is 
not administered at all. For the name administration must not be given to chances. But if 
it is impious for all those that are bound by any religion to believe this, it remains either 
that there is condemnation of some souls, or that there are no sins. But if there are no sins, 
neither is there any evil. Which if the Manichaeans should say, they would slay their heresy 
with a single blow. Therefore they and I agree that some souls are condemned by divine 
law and judgment. But if these souls are good, what is that justice? If evil, are they so by 
nature, or by will? But by nature souls can in no way be evil. Whence do we teach this. 
From the above definitions of will and sin. For to speak of souls, and that they are evil, and 
that they do not sin, is full of madness; but to say that they sin without will, is great craziness, 
and to hold any one guilty of sin for not doing what he could not do, belongs to the height 
of iniquity and insanity. Wherefore whatever these souls do, if they do it by nature not by 
will, that is, if they are wanting in a movement of mind free both for doing and not doing, 
if finally no power of abstaining from their work is conceded to them; we cannot hold that 
the sin is theirs. 214 But all confess both that evil souls are justly, and souls that have not 


214 In his Retractations, Augustin explains that by nature is to be understood the state in which we were 
created without vice. He transfers the entire argument from the actual condition of man to the primitive Adamic 
condition. It is evident, however, that this was not his meaning when he combated the Manichaeans. The 
question of infant sinfulness arises here also, and is discussed in the usual Anti-Pelagian way. — A.H.N. 


181 



From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, Fie Overthrows the Entire Heresy... 


sinned are unjustly condemned; therefore they confess that those souls are evil that sin. But 
these, as reason teaches, do not sin. Therefore the extraneous class of evil souls of the 
Manichaeans, whatever it may be, is a non-entity. 

18. Let us now look at that good class of souls, which again they exalt to such a degree 
as to say that it is the very substance of God. But how much better it is that each one should 
recognize his own rank and merit, nor be so puffed up with sacrilegious pride as to believe 
that as often as he experiences a change in himself it is the substance of that supreme good, 
which devout reason holds and teaches to be unchangeable! For behold! since it is manifest 
that souls do not sin in not being such as they cannot be; it follows that these supposititious 
souls, whatever they may be, do not sin at all, and moreover that they are absolutely non- 
existent; it remains that since there are sins, they find none to whom to attribute them except 
the good class of souls and the substance of God. But especially are they pressed by Christian 
authority; for never have they denied that forgiveness of sins is granted when any one has 
been converted to God; never have they said (as they have said of many other passages) that 
some corrupter has interpolated this into the divine Scriptures. To whom then are sins at- 
tributed? If to those evil souls of the alien class, these also can become good, can possess 
the kingdom of God with Christ. Which denying, they [the Manichaeans] have no other 
class except those souls which they maintain are of the substance of God. It remains that 
they acknowledge that not only these latter also, but these alone sin. But I make no conten- 
tion about their being alone in sinning; yet they sin. But are they compelled to sin by being 
commingled with evil? If so compelled that there was no power of resisting, they do not 
sin. If it is in their power to resist, and they voluntarily consent, we are compelled to find 
out through their [the Manichaean] teaching, why so great good things in supreme evil, why 
this evil in supreme good, unless it be that neither is that which they bring into suspicion 
evil, nor is that which they pervert by superstition supreme good? 


182 



From Deliberation on the Evil and on the Good Part It Results that Two Classes... 


Chapter 13. — From Deliberation on the Evil and on the Good Part It Results that 

Two Classes of Souls are Not to Be Held to. A Class of Souls Enticing to 

Shameful Deeds Having Been Conceded, It Does Not Follow that These are Evil 
by Nature, that the Others are Supreme Good. 

19. But if I had taught, or at any rate had myself learned, that they rave and err regarding 
those two classes of souls, why should I have thenceforth thought them worthy of being 
heard or consulted about anything? That I might learn hence, that these two kinds of souls 
are pointed out, which in the course of deliberation assent puts now on the evil side, now 
on the good? Why is not this rather the sign of one soul which by free will can be borne 
here and there, swayed hither and thither? For it was my own experience to feel that I am 
one, considering evil and good and choosing one or the other, but for the most part the one 
pleases, the other is fitting, placed in the midst of which we fluctuate. Nor is it to be wondered 
at, for we are now so constituted that through the flesh we can be affected by sensual pleasure, 
and through the spirit by honorable considerations. Am I not therefore compelled to ac- 
knowledge two souls? Nay, we can better and with far less difficulty recognize two classes 
of good things, of which neither is alien from God as its author, one soul acted upon from 
diverse directions, the lower and the higher, or to speak more correctly, the external and 
the internal. These are the two classes which a little while ago we considered under the 
names sensible and intelligible, which we now prefer to call more familiarly carnal and 
spiritual. But it has been made difficult for us to abstain from carnal things, since our truest 
bread is spiritual. For with great labor we now eat this bread. For neither without punish- 
ment for the sin of transgression have we been changed from immortal into mortal. So it 
happens, that when we strive after better things, habit formed by connection with the flesh 
and our sins in some way begin to militate against us and to put obstacles in our way, some 
foolish persons with most obtuse superstition suspect that there is another kind of souls 
which is not of God. 

20. However even if it be conceded to them that we are enticed to shameful deeds by 
another inferior kind of souls, they do not thence make it evident that those enticing are 
evil by nature, or those enticed, supremely good. For it may be, the former of their own 
will, by striving after what was not lawful, that is, by sinning, from being good have become 
evil; and again they may be made good, but in such manner that for a long time they remain 
in sin, and by a certain occult suasion traduce to themselves other souls. Then, they may 
not be absolutely evil, but in their own kind, however inferior, they may exercise their own 
functions without any sin. But those superior souls to whom justice, the directress of things, 
has assigned a far more excellent activity, if they should wish to follow and to imitate those 
inferior ones, become evil, not because they imitate evil souls, but because they imitate in 
an evil way. By the evil souls is done what is proper to them, by the good what is alien to 


183 



From Deliberation on the Evil and on the Good Part It Results that Two Classes... 


them is striven after. Hence the former remain in their own grade, the latter are plunged 
into a lower. It is as when men copy after beasts. For the four-footed horse walks beautifully, 
but if a man on all fours should imitate him, who would think him worthy even of chaff for 
food? Rightly therefore we generally disapprove of one who imitates, while we approve of 
him whom he imitates. But we disapprove not because he has not succeeded, but for wishing 
to succeed at all. For in the horse we approve of that to which by as much as we prefer man, 
by so much are we offended that he copies after inferior creatures. So among men, however 
well the crier may do in sending forth his voice, would not the senator be insane, if he should 
do it even more clearly and better than the crier? Take an illustration from the heavenly 
bodies: The moon when shining is praised, and by its course and its changes is quite 
pleasing to those that pay attention to such things. But if the sun should wish to imitate it 

01 r 

(for we may feign that it has desires of this sort ), who would not be greatly and rightly 
displeased. From which illustrations I wish it to be understood, that even if there are souls 
(which meanwhile is left an open question” ) devoted to bodily offices not by sin but by 
nature, and even if they are related to us, however inferior they maybe, by some inner affinity, 
they should not be esteemed evil simply because we are evil ourselves in following them and 
in loving corporeal things. For we sin by loving corporeal things, because by justice we are 
required and by nature we are able to love spiritual things, and when we do this we are, in 

917 

our kind, the best and the happiest. " 

21. Wherefore what proof does deliberation, violently urged in both directions, now 
prone to sin, now borne on toward right conduct, furnish, that we are compelled to accept 
two kinds of souls, the nature of one of which is from God, of the other not; when we are 
free to conjecture so many other causes of alternating states of mind? But that these things 
are obscure and are to no purpose pried into by blear-eyed minds, whoever is a good judge 
of things sees. Wherefore those things rather which have been said regarding the will and 
sin, those things, I say, that supreme justice permits no man using his reason to be ignorant 
of, those things which if they were taken from us, there is nothing whence the discipline of 
virtue may begin, nothing whence it may rise from the death of vices, those things I say 


215 Augustin’s carefulness to explain that he is only indulging in personification is doubtless due to the fact 
that with the Manichseans the sun and the moon were objects of worship. — A.H.N. 

216 In his Retractations, Augustin explains that he did not really regard this as an open question, but speaks 
of it as such only so far as this particular discussion is concerned. He simply declines to enter upon a consider- 
ation of it in this connection. — A.H.N. 

217 Here also the use of the word "nature" gave Augustin trouble in his later years. He claims in the Retracta- 
tions that he uses the word in the sense of "nature that has been healed" and that "cannot be vitiated," and seeks 
to show that he did not mean to exclude divine grace. — A.H.N. 


184 



From Deliberation on the Evil and on the Good Part It Results that Two Classes... 


considered again and again with sufficient clearness and lucidity convince us that the heresy 
of the Manichaeans is false. 


185 



Again It is Shown from the Utility of Repenting that Souls are Not by Nature... 


Chapter 14. — Again It is Shown from the Utility of Repenting that Souls are Not by 

Nature Evil. So Sure a Demonstration is Not Contradicted Except from the 

Habit of Erring. 

22. Like the foregoing considerations is what I shall now say about repenting. For as 
among all sane people it is agreed, and this the Manichaeans themselves not only confess 
but also teach, that to repent of sin is useful. Why shall I now, in this matter, collect the 
testimonies of the divine Scriptures, which are scattered throughout their pages? It is also 
the voice of nature; notice of this thing has escaped no fool. We should be undone, if this 
were not deeply imbedded in our nature. Some one may say that he does not sin; but no 
barbarity will dare to say, that if one sins he should not repent of it. This being the case, I 
ask to which of the two kinds of souls does repenting pertain? I know indeed that it can 
pertain neither to him who does ill nor to him who cannot do well. Wherefore, that I may 
use the words of the Manichaeans, if a soul of darkness repent of sin, it is not of the substance 
of supreme evil, if a soul of light, it is not of the substance of supreme good; that disposition 
of repenting which is profitable testifies alike that the penitent has done ill, and that he could 
have done well. How, therefore, is there from me nothing of evil, if I have acted unadvisedly, 
or how can I rightly repent if I have not so done? Hear the other part. How is there from 
me nothing of good, if in me there is good will, or how do I rightly repent if there is not? 
Wherefore, either let them deny that there is great utility in repenting, so that they may be 
driven not only from the Christian name, but from every even imaginary argument for their 
views, or let them cease to say and to teach that there are two kinds of souls, one of which 
has nothing of evil, the other nothing of good; for that whole sect is propped up by this two- 
headed or rather headlong” variety of souls. 

23. And to me indeed it is sufficient thus to know that the Manichaeans err, that I know 
that sin must be repented of; and yet if now by right of friendship I should accost some one 
of my friends who still thinks that they are worthy of being listened to, and should say to 
him: Do you not know that it is useful, when any one has sinned, to repent? Without hes- 
itation he will swear that he knows. If then I shall have convinced you that Manichaeism is 
false, will you not desire anything more? Let him reply what more he can desire in this 
matter. Very well, so far. But when I shall have begun to show the sure and necessary argu- 
ments which, bound to it with adamantine chains, as the saying is, follow that proposition, 
and shall have conducted to its conclusion the whole process by which that sect is overthrown, 
he will deny perhaps that he knows the utility of repenting, which no learned man, no un- 
learned, is ignorant of, and will rather contend, when we hesitate and deliberate, that two 
souls in us furnish each its own proper help to the solution of the different parts of the 


218 Bicipiti. 

219 Prcecipiti. 


186 



Again It is Shown from the Utility of Repenting that Souls are Not by Nature... 


question. O habit of sin! O accompanying penalty of sin! Then you turned me away from 
the consideration of things so manifest, but you injured me when I did not discern. But 
now, among my most familiar acquaintances who do not discern, you wound and torment 
me discerning. 


187 



He Prays for His Friends Whom He Has Had as Associates in Error. 


Chapter 15. — He Prays for His Friends Whom He Has Had as Associates in Error. 

24. Give heed to these things, I beseech you, dearly beloved. Your dispositions I have 
well known. If you now concede to me the mind and the reason of any sort of man, these 
things are far more certain than the things that we seemed to learn or rather were compelled 
to believe. Great God, God omnipotent, God of supreme goodness, whose right it is to be 
believed and known to be inviolable and unchangeable. Trinal Unity, whom the Catholic 
Church worships, as one who have experienced in myself Thy mercy, I supplicate Thee, that 
Thou wilt not permit those with whom from boyhood I have lived most harmoniously in 
every relation to dissent from me in Thy worship. I see how it was especially to be expected 
in this place that I should either even then have defended the Catholic Scriptures attacked 
by the Manichaeans, if as I say, I had been cautious; or I should now show that they can be 
defended. But in other volumes God will aid my purpose, for the moderate length of this, 

990 

as I suppose, already asks to be spared. " 


220 This purpose Augustin accomplished in several works. See especially Contra Adimantum, and Contra 
Faustum Manichceum. On Augustin’s defense of the Old Testament Scriptures, see Mozley’s Ruling Ideas in 
Early Ages, last chapter. — A.H.N. 


188 



Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichcean. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

is, 

109 

ACTS OR DISPUTATION 

AGAINST 

FORTUNATUS THE MANICH^TAN. 

[ACTA SEU DISPUTATIO CONTRA FORTUNATUM MANICILEUM]. 

A.D. 392. 


TRANSLATED BY 


ALBERT H. NEWMAN, D.D., LL.D., 

PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY AND COMPARATIVE RELIGION, IN 
TORONTO BAPTIST (THEOLOGICAL) COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA. 


189 



Disputation of the First Day. 


Acts or Disputation 
Against Fortunatus, the Manichaean. 

[Acta Seu Disputatio Contra Fortunatum Manichseum.] a.d. 392. 221 


Disputation of the First Day. 

On the fifth of September, the most renowned men Arcadius Augustus (the second time) and 
Rufinus being consuls, a disputation against Fortunatus, an elder of the Manichceans, 
was held in the city of Hippo Regius, in the baths ofSossius, in the presence of the people. 
1. Augustin said: I now regard as error what formerly I regarded as truth. I desire to 
hear from you who are present whether my supposition is correct. First of all I regard it as 
the height of error to believe that Almighty God, in whom is our one hope, is in any part 
either violable, or contaminable, or corruptible. This I know your heresy affirms, not indeed 
in the words that I now use; for when you are questioned you confess that God is incorrupt- 
ible, and absolutely inviolable, and incontaminable; but when you begin to expound the 
rest of your system, we are compelled to declare Him corruptible, penetrable, contaminable. 
For you say that another race of darkness, whatever it may be, has rebelled against the 
kingdom of God; but that Almighty God, when He saw what ruin and desolation threatened 
his domains, unless he should make some opposition to the adverse race and resist it, sent 
this virtue, from whose commingling with evil and the race of darkness the world was 


221 This Disputation seems to have occurred shortly after the writing of the preceding treatise. It appears 
from the Retractations that Fortunatus had lived for a considerable time at Hippo, and had secured so large a 
number of followers that it was a delight to him to dwell there. The Disputation is supposed to be a verbatim 
report of what Augustin and Fortunatus said during a two days’ discussion. The subject is the origin of evil. 
Augustin maintains that evil, so far as man is concerned, has arisen from a free exercise of the will on man’s 
part; Fortunatus, on the other hand, maintains that the nature of evil is co-eternal with God. Fortunatus shows 
considerable knowledge of the New Testament, but no remarkable dialectic powers. He appears at great disad- 
vantage beside his great antagonist. In fact, he is far from saying the best that can be said in favor of dualism. 
We may say that he was fairly vanquished in the argument, and at the close confessed himself at a loss what to 
say, and expressed an intention of more carefully examining the problems discussed, in view of what Augustin 
had said. Augustin is more guarded in this treatise than in the preceding in his statements about free will. He 
found little occasion here, therefore, to retract or explain. Fortunatus often expresses himself vaguely and ob- 
scurely. If some sentences are difficult to understand in the translation, they will be found equally so in the 
Latin.— A.H.N. 


190 



Disputation of the First Day. 


framed. Hence it is that here good souls labor, serve, err, are corrupted: that they may see 
the need of a liberator, who should purge them from error, loose them from this commingling 
with evil, and liberate them from servitude. I think it impious to believe that Almighty God 
ever feared any adverse race, or was under necessity to precipitate us into afflictions. 

Fortunatus said: Because I know that you have been in our midst, that is, have lived as 
an adherent among the Manichaeans, these are the principles of our faith. The matter now 
to be considered is our mode of living, the falsely alleged crimes for which we are maltreated. 
Therefore let the good men present hear from you whether these things with which we are 
charged and which we have thrown in our teeth are true or false. For from your instruction, 
and from your exposition and explanation, they will have been able to gain more correct 
information about our mode of life, if it shall have been set forth by you. 

2. Augustin said: I was among you, but faith and morals are different questions. I 
proposed to discuss faith. But if those present prefer to hear about morals, I do not decline 
that question. 

Fortunatus said: I wish first to purge myself in your conscience in which we are polluted, 
by the testimony of a competent man, (who even now is competent for me), and in view of 
the future examination of Christ, the just judge, whether he saw in us, or himself practiced 
by imitation, the things that are now thrown in our teeth? 

3. Augustin said: You call me to something else, when I had proposed to discuss faith, 

but concerning your morals only those who are your Elect can fully know. But you know 
that I was not your Elect, but an Auditor. Hence though I was present at your prayer 
meetings, as you have asked (whether separately among yourselves you have any prayer 
meetings, God alone and yourselves can know); yet in your prayer meetings where I have 
been present I have seen nothing shameful take place; but only that the faith that I afterwards 
learned and approved is denounced, and that you perform your services facing the sun. 
Besides this I found out nothing new in your meetings, but whoever raises any question of 
morals against you, raises it against your Elect. But what you who are Elect do among 
yourselves, I have no means of knowing. For I have often heard from you that you receive 
the Eucharist. But since the time of receiving it was concealed from me, how could I know 
what you receive? So keep the question about morals, if you please, for discussion among 


222 The word used is oratio, by which is evidendy meant the religious services to which Auditors were ad- 
mitted, prayer ( oratio ) being the prominent feature. — A.H.N. 

223 The allusion here is doubtless to the probably slanderous charge that the Manichaeans were accustomed 
to partake of human semen as a Eucharist. The Manichaean view of the relation of the substance mentioned to 
the light, and their well-known opposition to procreation, give a slight plausibility to the charge. Compare the 
Morals of the Manichceans , ch. xviii., where Augustin expresses his suspicions of Manichaean shamelessness. 
See also further references in the Introduction. — A.H.N. 


191 



Disputation of the First Day. 


your Elect, if it can be discussed. You gave me a faith that I today disapprove. This I pro- 
posed to discuss. Let a response be made to my proposition. 

Fortunatussaid: And our profession is this very thing: that God is incorruptible, lucid, 
unapproachable, intenible, impassible, that He inhabits His own eternal lights, that nothing 
corruptible proceeds from Him, neither darkness, demons, Satan, nor anything adverse can 
be found in His kingdom. But that He sent forth a Saviour like Himself; that the Word born 
from the foundation of the world, when He had formed the world, after the formation of 
the world came among men; that He has chosen souls worthy of Himself according to His 
own holy will, sanctified by celestial command, imbued with the faith and reason of celestial 
things; that under His leadership those souls will return hence again to the kingdom of God 

994 

according to the holy promise of Him who said: "I am the way, the truth, and the door; 
and "No one can come unto the Father, except through me." These things we believe because 
otherwise, that is, through another mediator, souls cannot return to the kingdom of God, 
unless they find Him as the way, the truth, and the door. For Himself said: "He that hath 
seen me, hath seen my Father also;" and "whosoever shall have believed on me shall not 
taste death forever, but has passed from death unto life, and shall not come into judg- 
ment. These things we believe and this is the reason of our faith, and according to the 
strength of our mind we endeavor to act according to His commandments, following after 

997 

the one faith of this Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. 

4. Augustin said: What was the cause of those souls being precipitated into death, 
whom you confess come through Christ from death to life? 

Fortunatus said: Hence now deign to go on and to contradict, if there is nothing besides 
God. 

5. Augustin said: Nay, do you deign to answer the question put to you: What cause 
has given these souls to death? 

Fortunatus said: Nay but do you deign to say whether there is anything besides God, 
or all things are in God. 

6. Augustin said: This I can reply, that the Lord wished me to know that God cannot 
suffer any necessity, nor be violated or corrupted in any part. Which, since you also acknow- 
ledge, I ask by what necessity He sent hither souls that you say return through Christ? 


224 This is, of course, a mixture of two passages of Scripture. — A.H.N. 

225 John xiv. 8, 9. 

226 John v. 24. 

227 As remarked in the Introduction , the Manichaeans of the West, in Augustin’s time, sustained a far more 
intimate relation to Christianity than did Mani and his immediate followers. Far as Fortunatus may have been 
from using the above language in the ordinary Christian sense, yet he held, by profession at least, enough of 
Christian truth to beguile the unwary. — A.H.N. 


192 


Disputation of the First Day. 


Fortunatus said: What you have said: that thus far God has revealed to you, that He is 
incorruptible, as He has also revealed to me; the reason must be sought, how and wherefore 
souls have come into this world, so that now of right God should liberate them from this 
world through his Son only begotten and like Himself, if besides Himself there is nothing? 

7. Augustin said: We ought not to disappoint those present, being men of note, and 
from the question proposed for discussion go to another. So we both confess, so we concede 
to ourselves, that God is incorruptible and inviolable, and could have in no way suffered. 
From which it follows, that your heresy is false, which says that God, when He saw desolation 
and ruin threaten His kingdom, sent forth a power that should do battle with the race of 
darkness, and that out of this commingling our souls are laboring. My argument is brief, 
and as I suppose, perfectly clear to any one. If God could have suffered nothing from the 
race of darkness because He is inviolable, without cause He sent us hither that we might 
here suffer distress. But if anything can suffer, it is not inviolable, and you deceive those to 
whom you say that God is inviolable. For this your heresy denies when you expound the 
rest of it. 

Fortunatussaid: We are of that mind in which the Apostle Paul instructs us, who says: 
"Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who when He had been constituted 
in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself re- 
ceiving the form of a servant, having been made in the likeness of men, and having been 
found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and was made obedient even unto death." 

We have this mind therefore about ourselves, which we have also about Christ, who 
when He was constituted in the form of God, was made obedient even unto death that He 
might show the similitude of our souls. And like as He showed in Himself the similitude 
of death, and having been raised from the midst of the dead showed that He was from the 
Father, in the same manner we think it will be with our souls, because through Him we shall 
have been able to be freed from this death, which is either alien from God, or if it belongs 

990 

to God, His mercy ceases, and the name of liberator, and the works of Him who liberates. 

8. Augustin said: I ask how we came into death, and you tell how we may be liberated 
from death. 

Fortunatus said: So the apostle said that we ought to have that mind concerning ourselves 
which Christ has shown us. If Christ was in suffering and death, so also are we. 

9. Augustin said: It is known to all that the Catholic faith is to the effect that our Lord, 

that is the Power and Wisdom of God, and the Word through whom all things have been 


228 Philipp, ii. 5-8. 

229 Fortunatus could not surely have used this language with any proper conception of its meaning. He 
seems, against Mani, to have identified in some sense the Jesus that suffered with Christ. Yet even in this statement 
his docetism is manifest. — A.H.N. 

230 1 Cor. i. 24. 


193 


Disputation of the First Day. 


made and without whom was not anything made, took upon Himself man to liberate 
us. In the man whom He took upon Himself, He demonstrated those things that you spoke 
of. But we now ask concerning the substance of God Himself and of Unspeakable Majesty, 
whether anything can injure it or not. For if anything can injure it, He is not inviolable. If 
nothing can injure the substance of God, what was the race of darkness about to do to it, 
against which you say war was waged by God before the foundation of the world; in which 
war you assert that we, that is souls that are now manifestly in need of a liberator, have been 
commingled with every evil and implicated in death. Fori return to that very brief statement: 
If He could be injured, He is not inviolable; if He could not, He acted cruelly in sending us 
hither to suffer these things. 

Fortunatus said: Does the soul belong to God, or not? 

10. Augustin said: If it is just that you should fail to respond to my questions, and that 
I should be questioned, I will reply. 

Fortunatus said: Does the soul act independently? This I ask of you. 

11. Augustin said: I indeed will tell what you have asked; only remember this, that 
while you have refused to respond to my questions, I have responded to yours. If you ask 
whether the soul descended from God, it is indeed a great question; but whether it descends 
from God or not, I make this reply concerning the soul, that it is not God; that God is one 
thing, the soul another. That God is inviolable, incorruptible, and impenetrable, and incon- 
taminable, who also could be corrupted in no part and to whom no injury can be done in 
any part. But we see also that the soul is sinful, and is conversant with misery, and seeks 
the truth, and is in want of a liberator. This changing condition of the soul shows me that 
the soul is not God. For if the soul is the substance of God, the substance of God errs, the 
substance of God is corrupted, the substance of God is violated, the substance of God is 
deceived; which it is impious to say. 

Fortunatus said: Therefore you have denied that the soul is of God, so long as it serves 
sins, and vices, and earthly things, and is led by error, because it cannot happen that either 
God or His substance should suffer this thing. For God is incorruptible and His substance 
immaculate and holy. But here it is inquired of you whether the soul is of God, or not? 
Which we confess, and show from the advent of the Saviour, from His holy preaching, from 
His election; while He pitied souls, and the soul is said to have come according to His will, 
that He might free it from death and might bring it to eternal glory, and restore it to the 
Father. But what do you say and hope concerning the soul; is it from God or not? Can the 
substance of God, from which you deny that the soul has its being, be subject to no passions? 

12. Augustin said: I have denied that the soul is the substance of God in the sense of 
its being God; but yet I hold that it is from God as its author, because it was made by God. 


231 John i. 3. 


194 


Disputation of the First Day. 


The Maker is one thing, the thing made is another. He who made cannot be corruptible at 
all, but what He made cannot be at all equal to Him who made it. 

Fortunatus said: Nor have I said that the soul is like God. But because you have said 
that the soul is an artificial thing, and that there is nothing besides God, I ask whence then 
God invented the substance of the soul? 

13. Augustin said: Only bear in mind that I reply to your interrogations, but that you 
do not reply to mine. I say that the soul was made by God as all other things that were made 
by God; and that among the things that God Almighty made the principal place was given 
to the soul. But if you ask whence God made the soul, remember that you and I agree in 
confessing that God is almighty. But he is not almighty who seeks the assistance of any 
material whence he may make what he will. From which it follows, that according to our 
faith, all things that God made through His Word and Wisdom, He made out of nothing. 

9^9 

For so we read: "He ordered and they were made; He commanded and they were created." 

Fortunatus said: Do all things have their existence from God’s command? 

14. Augustin said: So I believe, but all things which were made. 

Fortunatus said: As things made they agree, but because they are unsuitable to them- 
selves, therefore on this account it follows, that there is not one substance, although from 
the same order of the One they came to the composition and fashioning of this world. But 
it is plain in the things themselves that there is no similarity between darkness and light, 
truth and falsehood, death and life, soul and body, and other similar things which differ 
from each other both in names and appearances. And for good reason did our Lord say: 
"The tree which my heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up and cast into the 
fire, because it brings not forth good fruit:" and that the tree has been rooted up. Hence 
truly it follows from the reason of things that there are two substances in this world which 
agree in forms and in names, of which one belongs to corporeal natures, but the other is 
the eternal substance of the omnipotent Father, which we believe to be God’s substance. 

15. Augustin said: Those contrary things that move you so that we think adversely, 
have happened on account of our sin, that is, on account of the sin of man. For God made 
all things good, and ordered them well; but He did not make sin, and our voluntary sin is 
the only thing that is called evil. There is another kind of evil, which is the penalty of sin. 
Since therefore there are two kinds of evil, sin and the penalty of sin, sin does not pertain 
to God; the penalty of sin pertains to the avenger. For as God is good who constituted all 
things, so He is just in taking vengeance on sin. Since therefore all things are ordered in 
the best possible way, which seem to us now to be adverse, it has deservedly happened to 
fallen man who was unwilling to keep the law of God. For God gave free will to the rational 


232 Ps. cxlviii. 5. 

233 Matt. xv. 13, and iii. 10. 


195 


Disputation of the First Day. 


soul which is in man. For thus it would have been possible to have merit, if we should be 
good voluntarily and not of necessity. Since therefore it behooves us to be good not of ne- 
cessity but voluntarily, it behooved God to give to the soul free will. But to this soul obeying 
His laws, He subjected all things without adversity, so that the rest of the things that God 
made should serve it, if also the soul itself had willed to serve God. But if it should refuse 
to serve God, those things that served it should be converted into its punishment. Wherefore 
if all things are rightly ordered by God, and are good, neither does God suffer evil. 

Fortunatus said: He does not suffer, but prevents evil. 

16. Augustin said: From whom then was He about to suffer it? 

Fortunatus said: This is my point, that He wished to prevent it, not rashly, but by power 
and prescience. But deny evil to be apart from God, when other precepts can be shown 
which are done apart from His will. A precept is not introduced, unless where there is 
contrariety. The free faculty of living is not given except where there is a fall according to 
the argument of the apostle who says: "And you did he quicken, when ye were dead in your 
trespasses and sins, wherein aforetime ye walked according to the rulership of this world, 
according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the souls 
of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires 
of the counsels of the flesh, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: but God, 
who is rich in all mercy, had mercy on us. And when we were dead by sins, quickened us 
together in Christ, by whose grace ye have been saved; and at the same time also raised us 
up, and made us to sit with Him in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus, that in the ages to 
come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 
For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, for it is a gift of 
God; not of works, lest any one should glory. For we are his workmanship created in Christ 
Jesus in good works, which God prepared that we should walk in them. Wherefore remem- 
ber, that aforetime ye were Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision, by that 
which is called circumcision in flesh made by hands, because ye were at that time without 
Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers of the covenant, having 
no hope of the promise, and without God in this world. But now in Christ Jesus, ye that 
once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who made both 
one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in His flesh, making void 
by His decrees the law of commandments, that in Himself He might unite the two into one 
new man, making peace, that He might reconcile them both in one body unto God through 
the cross, slaying the enmities in Himself. And He came and preached peace unto you that 


196 



Disputation of the First Day. 


were far off, and peace to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have our access 
in one Spirit unto the Father." 234 

17. Augustin said: This passage from the apostle, which you have thought fit to recite, 
if I mistake not, makes very strongly for my faith and against yours. In the first place, because 
free will itself, on which I have said that the possibility of the soul’s sinning depends, is here 
sufficiently expressed, when sins are mentioned, and it is said that our reconciliation with 
God takes place through Jesus Christ. For by sinning we were brought into opposition to 
God; but by holding to the precepts of Christ we are reconciled to God; so that we who were 
dead in sins may be made alive by keeping His precepts, and may have peace with Him in 
one Spirit, from whom we were alienated, by failure to keep His precepts; as is set forth in 
our faith concerning the man who was first created. I ask of you, therefore, according to 
that passage which has been read, how can we have sins if contrary nature compels us to do 
what we do? For he who is compelled by nature to do anything, does not sin. But he who 
sins, sins by free will. Wherefore would repentance be enjoined upon us, if we have done 
nothing evil, but only the race of darkness? Likewise, I ask, to whom is forgiveness of sins 
granted, to us or to the race of darkness? If to the race of darkness, their race will also reign 
with Him, receiving the forgiveness of sin; but if to us it is manifest that we have sinned 
voluntarily. For it is the height of folly for him to be pardoned who has done no evil. But 
he has done no evil, who has done nothing of his own will. Therefore the soul that today 
promises itself forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God, if it should cease to sin, and 
repent of past sins: if it should answer according to your faith and should say: In what have 
I sinned? In what am I guilty? Why hast Thou expelled me from Thy domains, that I might 
do battle with some sort of race? I have been trodden under foot, I have been mixed up, I 

nor 

have been corrupted, I am worn out, my free will has not been preserved. Thou knowest 
the necessity by which I am preserved: Why dost Thou impute to me the wounds that I 
have received? Wherefore dost Thou compel me to repentance when Thou art the cause of 
my wounds; when Thou knowest what I have suffered, what the race of darkness has done 
against me, Thou being the author who couldst suffer no harm and yet wishing to save the 
domains which nothing could injure, Thou didst thrust me down into these miseries. If 
indeed I am a part of Thee, who have proceeded from Thy bowels, if I am from Thy kingdom 
and Thy mouth, I ought not to suffer anything in this race of darkness, so that I being un- 
corrupted that race should be subjected, if I was a part of the Lord. But now since it cannot 


234 Eph. ii. 1-18. There are several somewhat important variations from the Greek text in this long extract. 
The attentive reader can get a good idea of the nature of the variations by comparing this literal translation with 
the revised English version. — A.H.N. 

235 There are three readings here, "wearied out,” "deceived," and "worn out." The latter is preferred by the 
Benedictine editors. — A.H.N. 


197 


Disputation of the First Day. 


be controlled except by my corruption, how can I either be said to be a part of Thee, or Thou 
remain inviolable, or not be cruel in wishing me to suffer for those domains, that could in 
no way be injured by that race of darkness? Respond to this if you please, and deign also 
to explain to me how it was said by the apostle, "We were by nature children of wrath," who, 
he says, have been reconciled to God. If therefore they were by nature children of wrath, 
how do you say that the soul is by nature a daughter and portion of God? 

Fortunatussaid: If with regard to the soul the apostle had said that we are by nature 
children of wrath, the soul would have been alienated by the mouth of the apostle from 
God. From this argument you only show that the soul does not belong to God, because, the 
apostle says, "We are by nature children of wrath." But if it is said in view of the fact that 
the apostle was held by the law, descending as he himself testifies, from the seed of Abra- 
ham, it follows that he has said corporeally, that we [i.e., Jews] were children of wrath even 
as the rest of mankind. But he shows that the substance of the soul is of God, and that the 
soul cannot otherwise be reconciled to God than through the Master, who is Christ Jesus. 
For the enmity having been slain, the soul seemed to God unworthy to have existed. But 
that it was sent, this we confess, by God yet omnipotent, both deriving its origin from Him 
and sent for the sealing of His will. In the same way we believe also that Christ the Saviour 
came from heaven to fulfill the will of the Father. Which will of the Father was this, to free 
our souls from the same enmity, this enmity having been slain, which if it had not been 
opposed to God could neither be called enmity where there was unity, nor could slaying be 
spoken of or take place where there was life. 

18. Augustin said: Remember that the apostle said that we are alienated from God by 
our manner of life. 

Fortunatus said: I submit, that there were two substances. In the substance of light, as 
we have above said, God is to be held incorruptible; but that there was a contrary nature of 
darkness, that which I also today confess is vanquished by the power of God, and that Christ 
has been sent forth as a Saviour for my restoration, as previously the same apostle says. 

19. Augustin said: That we should discuss on rational grounds the belief in two natures, 
has been made obligatory by those who are hearing us. But inasmuch as you have again 
betaken yourself to the Scriptures, I descend to them, and demand that nothing be passed 
by, lest using certain statements we should bring confusion into the minds of those to whom 
the Scriptures are not well known. Let us therefore consider a statement that the apostle 
has in his epistle to the Romans. For on the first page is what is strongly against you. For 
he says: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel 
of God, which He promised aforetime by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning 
his Son, who was made unto Him of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was pre- 


236 Rom. xi. 1. 


198 


Disputation of the First Day. 


destinated to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness from the re- 
surrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ." - We see that the apostle teaches us 
concerning our Lord Jesus Christ that before the flesh he was predestinated by the power 
of God, and according to the flesh was made unto Him of the seed of David. Since you have 
always denied and always will deny this, how do you so earnestly demand the Scriptures 
that we should discuss rather according to them. 

Fortunatussaid: You assert that according to the flesh Christ was of the seed of David, 
when it should be asserted that he was born of a virgin, and should be magnified as Son 
of God. For this cannot be, unless as what is from spirit may be held to be spirit, so also 
what is from flesh may be known to be flesh. Against which is the authority of the Gospel 

in which it is said, that "flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God, neither shall 
corruption inherit incorruption ." 240 

Here a clamor was made by the audience who wished the argument to be conducted 

on rational grounds, because they saw that Fortunatus was not willing to receive all things 

that are written in the Codex of the apostle. Then little discussions began to be held here 

and there by all, until Fortunatus said that the Word of God has been fettered in the race of 

darkness. At which, when those present had expressed their horror, the meeting was closed. 
241 


237 Rom. i. 1-4. 

238 Isa. vii. 14. 

239 John iii. 6. 

240 1 Cor. xv. 50. 

241 This little side remark lends reality to the discussion, and enables us to form a vivid conception of what 
doctrinal debates were in the age of Augustin. — A.H.N. 


199 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


Disputation of the Second Day. 

The next day, a notary having again been summoned, the discussion was conducted as follows: 

Fortunatus said: I say that God Almighty brings forth from Himself nothing evil, and 
that the things that are His remain incorrupt, having sprung and being born from an invi- 
olable source; but other contrary things which have their being in this world, do not flow 
from God nor have appeared in this world with God as their author; that is to say, they do 
not derive their origin from God. These things therefore we have received in the belief that 
evil things are foreign to God. 

20. Augustin said: And our faith is this, that God is not the progenitor of evil things, 
neither has He made any evil nature. But since both of us agree that God is incorruptible 
and incontaminable, it is the part of the prudent and faithful to consider, which faith is 
purer and worthier of the majesty of God; that in which it is asserted that either the power 
of God, or some part of God, or the Word of God, can be changed, violated, corrupted, 
fettered; or that in which it is said that Almighty God and His entire nature and substance 
can never be corrupted in any part, but that evils have their being by the voluntary sin of 
the soul, to which God gave free will. Which free will if God had not given, there could be 
no just penal judgment, nor merit of righteous conduct, nor divine instruction to repent of 
sins, nor the forgiveness of sins itself which God has bestowed upon us through our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Because he who sins not voluntarily, sins not at all. This I suppose to be open 
and perspicuous to all. Wherefore it ought not to trouble us if according to our deserts we 
suffer some inconveniences in the things God has made. For as He is good, that He should 
constitute all things; so He is just, that He may not spare sins, which sins, as I have said, 
unless free will were in us, would not be sins. For if any one, so to speak, should be bound 
by some one in his other members, and with his hand something false should be written 
without his own will, I ask whether if this were laid open before a judge, he could condemn 
this one for the crime of falsehood. Wherefore, if it is manifest that there is no sin where 
there is not free exercise of will,” I wish to hear what evil the soul which you call either 
part, or power, or word, or something else, of God, has done, that it should be punished by 
God, or repent of sin, or merit forgiveness, since it has in no way sinned? 

Fortunatus said: I proposed concerning substances, that God is to be regarded as creator 
only of good things, but as the avenger of evil things, for the reason that evil things are not 
of Him. Therefore for good reason I think this, and that God avenges evil things because 
they are not of Himself. But if they were from Him, either He would give them license to 
sin, as you say that God has given free will, He would be already found a participator in my 
fault, because He would be the author of my fault; or ignorant what I should be, he left me 


242 Liberum voluntatis arbitrium. 


200 



Disputation of the Second Day. 


whom he did not constitute worthy of Himself. This therefore is proposed by me, and what 
I ask now is, whether God instituted evil or not? and whether He Himself instituted the end 
of evils. For it appears from these things, and the evangelical faith teaches, that the things 
which we have said were made by God Himself as God the Creator, as having been created 
and begotten by Him, are to be esteemed incorruptible. These things I also proposed which 
belong to our belief, and which can be confirmed by you in that profession of ours, without 
prejudice to the authority of the Christian faith. And because I can in no way show that I 
rightly believe, unless I should confirm that belief by the authority of the Scriptures, this is 
therefore what I have insinuated, what I have said. Either if evil things have appeared in 
the world with God as their author, deign to say so yourself; or if it is right to believe that 
evil things are not of God, this also the contemplation of those present ought to honor and 
receive. I have spoken about substances, not about sin that dwells in us. For if what we 
think to make faults had no origin, we should not be compelled to come to sin or to fault. 
For because we sinned unwillingly, and are compelled by a substance contrary and hostile 
to ourselves, therefore we follow the knowledge of things. By which knowledge the soul 
admonished and restored to pristine memory, recognizes the source from which it derives 
its existence, in what evil it dwells, by what good works emending again that in which un- 
willingly it sinned, it may be able through the emendation of its faults, for the sake of good 
works, to secure for itself the merit of reconciliation with God, our Saviour being the author 
of it, who teaches us also to practice good things and to flee from evil. For you ask us to 
believe that not by some contrary nature, but by his own choice, man either serves righteous- 
ness or becomes involved in sins; since, no contrary race existing, if the soul, to which as 
you say God has given free will, having been constituted in the body, dwells alone, it would 
be without sin, nor would it become involved in sins. 

21. Augustin said: I say it is not sin, if it be not committed by one’s own will; hence 
also there is reward, because of our own will we do right. Or if he who sins unwillingly de- 
serves punishment, he who unwillingly does well ought to deserve reward. But who doubts 
that reward is only bestowed upon him who does something of good will? From which we 
know that punishment also is inflicted upon him who does something of ill will. But since 
you recall me to primordial natures and substances, my faith is that God Almighty — which 
must especially be attended to and fixed in the mind — that God Almighty has made good 
things. But the things made by Him cannot be such as is He who made them. For it is unjust 
and foolish to believe that works are equal to the workman, things made to the maker. 
Wherefore if it is reverential to believe that God made all good things, than which nevertheless 
He is by far more excellent and by far more pre-eminent; the origin and head of evil is sin, 
as the apostle said: "Covetousness is the root of all evils; which some following after have 

DA'2 

made shipwreck of the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 


243 1 Tim. vi. 10. 


201 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


For if you seek the root of all evils, you have the apostle saying that covetousness is the root 
of all evils. But the root of a root I cannot seek. Or if there is another evil, whose root cov- 
etousness is not, covetousness will not be the root of all evils. But if it is true that covetousness 
is the root of all evils, in vain do we seek some other kind of evil. But as regards that contrary 
nature of yours which you introduce, since I have responded to your objections, I ask that 
you deign to tell me whether it is wholly evil, whether there can be no sin apart from it, 
whether by this alone punishment is deserved, not by the soul by which no sin has been 
committed. But if you say that this contrary nature alone deserves punishment, and not 
the soul, I ask to which is repentance, which is commanded, vouchsafed. If the soul is 
commanded to repent, sin is from the soul, and the soul has sinned voluntarily. For if the 
soul is compelled to do evil, that which it does is not evil. Is it not foolish and most absurd 
to say that the race of darkness has sinned and that I repent of the sins. Is it not most absurd 
to say that the race of darkness has sinned and that forgiveness of sins is vouchsafed to me, 
who according to your faith may well say: What have I done? What have I committed? I 
was with Thee, I was in a state of integrity, I was contaminated with no pollution. Thou 
didst send me hither, Thou didst suffer necessity, Thou didst protect Thy domains when 
great pollution and desolation threatened them. Since therefore Thou knowest the necessity 
by which I have been here oppressed, by reason of which I could not breathe, which I could 
not resist; why dost Thou accuse me as if sinning? or why dost Thou promise forgiveness 
of sins? Reply to this without evasion, if you please, as I have replied to you. 

Fortunatussaid: We say this, that the soul is compelled by contrary nature to transgress, 
for which transgression you maintain there is no root save the evil that dwells in us; for it 
is certain that apart from our bodies evil things dwell in the whole world. For not those 
things alone that we have in our bodies, dwell in the whole world, and are known by their 
names as good; an evil root also inheres. For your dignity said that this covetousness that 
dwells in our bodies is the root of evils; since therefore there is no desire of evil out of our 
bodies, from that source contrary nature dwells in the whole world. For the apostle desig- 
nated that, namely covetousness, as the root of evils, not one evil which you have called the 
root of all evils. But not in one manner is covetousness, which you have said is the root of 
all evils, understood, as if of that which dwells in our bodies alone; for it is certain that this 
evil which dwells in us descends from an evil author and that this root as you call it is a small 
portion of evil, so that it is not the root itself, but is a small portion of evil, of that evil which 
dwells everywhere. Which root and tree our Lord called evil, as never bearing good fruit, 
which his Father did not plant, and which is deservedly rooted up and cast into the fire . 244 
For as you say, that sin ought to be imputed to the contrary nature, that nature belongs to 
evil; and that this is sin of the soul, if after the warning of our Saviour and his wholesome 


244 Matt. xv. 13, and iii. 10. 


202 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


instruction, the soul shall have segregated itself from its contrary and hostile race, adorning 
itself also with purer things; that otherwise it cannot be restored to its own substance. For 
it is said: "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. But now that I 
have come and spoken, and they have refused to believe me, they shall have no excuse for 
their sin." 245 Whence it is perfectly plain, that repentance has been given after the Saviour’s 
advent, and after this knowledge of things, by which the soul can, as if washed in a divine 
fountain from the filth and vices as well of the whole world as of the bodies in which the 
same soul dwells, be restored to the kingdom of God whence it has gone forth. For it is said 
by the apostle, that "the mind of the flesh is hostile to God; is not subject to the law of God, 
neither indeed can be." 246 Therefore it is evident from these things that the good soul seems 
to sin not voluntarily, but by the doing of that which is not subject to the law of God. For 
it likewise follows that "the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; so 
that ye may not do the things that ye will." Again: "I see another law in my members, 
warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive in the law of sin and of death. 
Therefore I am a miserable man; who shall deliver me from the body of this death, unless 
it be the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ," "through whom the world has been 

crucified to me and I to the world?" 249 

22. Augustin said: I recognize and embrace the testimonies of the divine Scriptures, 
and I will show in a few words, as God may deign to grant, how they are consistent with my 
faith. I say that there was free exercise of will in that man who was first formed. He was so 
made that absolutely nothing could resist his will, if he had willed to keep the precepts of 
God. But after he voluntarily sinned, we who have descended from his stock were plunged 
into necessity. But each one of us can by a little consideration find that what I say is true. 
For today in our actions before we are implicated by any habit, we have free choice of doing 
anything or not doing it. But when by that liberty we have done something and the pernicious 
sweetness and pleasure of that deed has taken hold upon the mind, by its own habit the 
mind is so implicated that afterwards it cannot conquer what by sinning it has fashioned 
for itself. We see many who do not wish to swear, but because the tongue has already become 
habituated, they are not able to prevent those things from going forth from the mouth which 
we cannot but ascribe to the root of evil. For that I may discuss with you those words, which 
as they do not withdraw from your mouth so may they be understood by your heart: you 
swear by the Paraclete. If therefore you wish to find out experimentally whether what I say 


245 John xv. 22. 

246 Rom. viii. 7. 

247 Gal. v. 17. 

248 Rom. vii. 23-25. 
Gal. v. 14. 


249 


203 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


is true, determine not to swear. You will see, that that habit is borne along as it has become 
accustomed to be. And this is what wars against the soul, habit formed in the flesh. This 
is indeed the mind of the flesh, which, as long as it cannot thus be subject to the law of God, 
so long is it the mind of the flesh; but when the soul has been illuminated it ceases to be the 
mind of the flesh. For thus it is said the mind of the flesh cannot be subject to the law of 
God, just as if it were said, that snow cannot be warm. For so long as it is snow, it can in 
no way be warm. But as the snow is melted by heat, so that it may become warm, so the 
mind of the flesh, that is, habit formed with the flesh, when our mind has become illuminated, 
that is, when God has subjected for Himself the whole man to the choice of the divine law, 
instead of the evil habit of the soul, makes a good habit. Accordingly it is most truly said 
by the Lord of the two trees, the one good and the other evil, which you have called to mind, 
that they have their own fruits; that is, neither can the good tree yield evil fruit, nor the evil 
tree good fruit, but so long as it is evil. Let us take two men, a good and a bad. As long as 
he is good he cannot yield evil fruit; as long as he is bad he cannot yield good fruit. But that 
you may know that those two trees are so placed by the Lord, that free choice may be there 
signified, that these two trees are not natures but our wills, He Himself says in the gospel: 
"Either make the tree good, or make the tree evil." Who is it that can make nature? If 
therefore we are commanded to make a tree either good or evil, it is ours to choose what 
we will. Therefore concerning that sin of man and concerning that habit of soul formed 

oci 

with the flesh the apostle says: "Let no one seduce you;" "Every creature that has been 

in 

made by God is good." The same apostle whom you also have cited says: "As through 
the disobedience of the one the many were constituted sinners; so also through the obedience 

in 

of the one the many are constituted righteous." "Since through man is death, through 
man also is resurrection of the dead." As long therefore as we bear the image of the earthly 
man , 254 that is, as long as we live according to the flesh, which is also called the old man, 
we have the necessity of our habit, so that we may not do what we will. But when the grace 
of God has breathed the divine love into us and has made us subject to His will, to us it is 

-ire 

said: "Ye are called for freedom," and "the grace of God has made me free from the law 
of sin and of death." But the law of sin is that whoever has sinned shall die. From this 
law we are freed when we have begun to be righteous. The law of death is that by which it 


250 Matt. xii. 35. 

251 Eph. v. 6. 

252 1 Tim. iv. 4. 

253 Rom. v. 19. 

254 1 Cor. xv. 21, 49. 

255 Gal. v. 13. 

256 Rom. viii. 2. 


204 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


9 ^7 

was said to man: "Earth thou art and into earth thou shalt go." For from this very fact 
we are all so born, because we are earth, and from the fact that we are all so born because 
we are earth, we shall all go into earth on account of the desert of the sins of the first man. 
But on account of the grace of God, which frees us from the law of sin and of death, having 
been converted to righteousness we are freed; so that afterwards this same flesh tortures us 
with its punishment so long as we remain in sins, is subjected to us in resurrection, and 
shakes us by no adversity from keeping the law of God and His precepts. Whence, since I 
have replied to your questions, deign to reply as I desire, how it can happen, that if nature 
is contrary to God, sin should be imputed to us, who were sent into that nature not volun- 
tarily, but by God Himself, whom nothing could injure? 

Fortunatussaid: Just as also the Ford said to His disciples: "Behold I send you as sheep 
in the midst of wolves." Hence it must be known that not with hostile intent did our 

Saviour send forth His lambs, that is His disciples, into the midst of wolves, unless there 
had been some contrariety, which He would indicate by the similitude of wolves, where also 
He had sent His disciples; that the souls which perchance might be deceived in the midst 
of wolves might be recalled to their proper substance. Hence also may appear the antiquity 
of our times to which we return, and of our years, that before the foundation of the world 
souls were sent in this way against the contrary nature, that subjecting the same by their 
passion, victory might be restored to God. For the same apostle said, that not only there 
should be a struggle against flesh and blood, but also against principalities and powers, and 
the spiritual things of wickedness, and the domination of darkness." If therefore in both 

places evils dwell and are esteemed wickednesses, not only now is evil in our bodies, but in 
the whole world, where souls appear to dwell, which dwell beneath yonder heaven and are 
fettered. 

23. Augustin said: The Ford sent His lambs into the midst of wolves, that is, just men 
into the midst of sinners for the preaching of the gospel received in the time of man from 
the inestimable divine Wisdom, that He might call us from sin to righteousness. But what 
the apostle says, that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities 
and powers, and the other things that have been quoted, this signifies that the devil and his 
angels, as also we, have fallen and lapsed by sin, and have secured possession of earthly 
things, that is, sinful men, who, as long as we are sinners, are under their yoke, just as when 
we shall be righteous, we shall be under the yoke of righteousness; and against them we have 
a struggle, that passing over to righteousness we may be freed from their dominion. Do 


257 Gen. iii. 19. 

258 Matt. x. 16. 

259 Eph. v. 12. 


205 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


you also therefore deign to reply to the one question that I ask: Could God suffer injury, 
or not? But I ask you to reply: He could not. 

Fortunatus said: He could not suffer injury. 

24. Augustin said: Wherefore then did He send us hither, according to your faith? 

Fortunatus said: My profession is this, that God could not be injured, and that He dir- 
ected us hither. But since this is contrary to your view, do you tell how you account for the 
soul being here, which our God desires to liberate both by His commandments and by His 
own Son whom He has sent. 

25. Augustin said: Since I see that you cannot answer my inquiries, and wish to ask 
me something, behold I satisfy you, provided only that you bear in mind that you have not 
replied to my question. Why the soul is here in this world involved in miseries has been 
explained by me not just now, but again and again a little while ago. The soul sinned, and 
therefore is miserable. It accepted free choice, used free choice, as it willed; it fell, was cast 
out from blessedness, was implicated in miseries. As bearing upon this I recited to you the 
testimony of the apostle who says: "As through one man death, so also through one man 
came the resurrection of the dead." What more do you ask? Hence do you reply, wherefore 
did He, who could not suffer injury, send us hither? 

Fortunatus said: The cause must be sought, why the soul came hither, or wherefore 
God desires hence to liberate the soul that lives in the midst of evils? 

26. Augustin said: This cause I ask of you, that is, if God could not suffer injury, 
wherefore He sent us hither? 

Fortunatus said: It is inquired of us, if evil cannot injure God, wherefore the soul was 
sent hither, or for what reason was it mingled with the world? Which is manifest in what 
the apostle says: "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou formed 
me thus?" If therefore this cause must be pleaded, He must be asked, why He sent the 

soul, no necessity compelling Him. But if there was necessity for sending the soul, of right 
is there also the will of liberating it. 

27. Augustin said: Then God is pressed by necessity, is He? 

Fortunatus said: Now this is it. Do not seek to bring odium upon what has been said 
because we do not make God subject to necessity, but to have voluntarily sent the soul. 

28. Augustin said: Recall what was said above. And it runs: "But if there was necessity 
for sending the soul, of right is there also the will of liberating it. Augustin said: We have 
heard: But if there was necessity for sending the soul, of right is there also the will of liber- 
ating it." You, therefore, said that there was necessity for sending the soul. But if you only 
wish to say "a will to send," I add this also: He who could suffer no injury, had the cruel will 
to send the soul to so great miseries. Because I speak for the sake of refuting this statement, 


260 Rom. ix. 20. 


206 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


I ask pardon from the mercy of that One in whom we have hope of liberation from all the 
errors of heretics. 

Fortunatus said: You asseverate that we say that God is cruel in sending the soul, but 
that God made man, breathed into him a soul which assuredly He foreknew to be involved 
in future misery, and not to be able by reason of evils to be restored to its inheritance. This 
belongs either to one who is ignorant, or who gives the soul up to these aforesaid evils. This 
I have cited because you said not long since, that God adopted the soul, not that it is from 
Him; for to adopt is a different matter. 

29. Augustin said: Concerning adoption I remember that I spoke some days ago ac- 
cording to the testimony of the apostle, who says that we have been called into the adoption 
of sons. This was not my reply, therefore, but the apostle’s, concerning which thing, that 
is, that adoption, we may inquire, if we please, in its own time; and concerning that I will 
reply without delay, when you shall have answered my objections. 

Fortunatus said: I say that there was a going forth of the soul against a contrary nature, 
which nature could not injure God. 

30. Augustin said: What need was there for that going forth, when God whom nothing 
could injure had nothing to protect? 

Fortunatus said: Do you conscientiously hold that Christ came from God? 

31. Augustin said: Again you are questioning me. Reply to my inquiries. 

Fortunatus said: So I have received in faith, that by the will of God He came hither. 

32. Augustin said: And I say: Why did God, omnipotent, inviolable, immutable, whom 
nothing could injure, send hither the soul, to miseries, to error, to those things that we suffer? 

Fortunatussaid: For it has been said: "I have power to lay down my soul and I have 
power to take it again."” Now He said that by the will of God the soul went forth. 

33. Augustin said: I ask for the reason why God, when He can in no way suffer injury, 
sent the soul hither? 

Fortunatus said: We have already said that God can in no way suffer injury, and we 
have said that the soul is in a contrary nature, therefore that it imposes a limit on the contrary 
nature. The restraint having been imposed on the contrary nature, God takes the same. 
For He Himself said, "I have power to lay down my soul and power to take it." The Father 
gave to me the power of laying down my soul, and of taking it. To what soul, therefore, did 
God who spoke in the Son refer? Evidently our soul, which is held in these bodies, which 
came of His will, and of His will is again taken up. 


261 Eph. i. 5. 

262 John x. 18. 


207 


Disputation of the Second Day. 


34. Augustin said: Why our Lord said: "I have power to lay down my soul and power 
to take it," is known to all; because He was about to suffer and to rise again. But I ask of you 
again and again, If God could in no way suffer injury, why did he send souls hither? 

Fortunatus said: To impose a limit on contrary nature. 

35. Augustin said: And did God omnipotent, merciful and supreme, that He might 
impose a restraint on contrary nature, wish it to be limited so that He might make us unres- 
trained? 

Fortunatus said: But so He calls us back to Himself. 

36. Augustin said: If He recalls to Himself from an unrestrained state, if from sin, from 
error, from misery, what need was there for the soul to suffer so great evils through so long 
a time till the world ends? since God by whom you say it was sent could in no way suffer 
injury. 

Fortunatus said: What then am I to say? 

37. Augustin said: I know that you have nothing to say, and that I, when I was among 
you, never found anything to say on this question, and that I was thus admonished from 
on high to leave that error and to be converted to the Catholic faith or rather to recall it, by 
the indulgence of Him who did not permit me to inhere forever in this fallacy. But if you 
confess that you have nothing to reply, I will expound the Catholic faith to all those hearing 
and investigating, seeing that they are believers, if they permit and wish. 

Fortunatus said: Without prejudice to my profession I might say: when I shall have 
reconsidered with my superiors the things that have been opposed by you, if they fail to re- 
spond to this question of mine, which is now in like manner proposed to me by you, it will 
be in my contemplation (since I desire my soul to be liberated by an assured faith) to come 
to the investigation of this thing that you have proposed to me and that you promise you 
will show. 

Augustin said: Thanks be to God. 


208 



Against the Epistle of Manichceus, Called Fundamental. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

AGAINST 

THE EPISTLE OF MANICHCEUS, 
CALLED FUNDAMENTAL. 

[CONTRA EPISTOLAM MANICfTEI QUAM VOCANT FUND AMENTUM] . 

A.D. 397. 

TRANSLATED BY 

REV. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A., 

BOMBAY 


209 



To Heal Heretics is Better Than to Destroy Them. 


Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental . 263 

[Contra Epistolam Manichsei Quam Vocant Fundamentum.] a.d. 397. 

Chapter 1. — To Heal Heretics is Better Than to Destroy Them. 

1 . My prayer to the one true, almighty God, of whom, and through whom, and in whom 
are all things, has been, and is now, that in opposing and refuting the heresy of you 
Manichaeans, as you may after all be heretics more from thoughtlessness than from malice, 
He would give me a mind calm and composed, and aiming at your recovery rather than at 
your discomfiture. For while the Lord, by His servants, overthrows the kingdoms of error, 
His will concerning erring men, as far as they are men, is that they should be amended rather 
than destroyed. And in every case where, previous to the final judgment, God inflicts pun- 
ishment, whether through the wicked or the righteous, whether through the unintelligent 
or through the intelligent, whether in secret or openly, we must believe that the designed 
effect is the healing of men, and not their ruin; while there is a preparation for the final 
doom in the case of those who reject the means of recovery. Thus, as the universe contains 
some things which serve for bodily punishment, as fire, poison, disease, and the rest, and 
other things, in which the mind is punished, not by bodily distress, but by the entanglements 
of its own passions, such as loss, exile, bereavement, reproach, and the like; while other 
things, again, without tormenting are fitted to comfort and soothe the languishing, as, for 
example, consolations, exhortations, discussions, and such things; in all these the supreme 
justice of God makes use sometimes even of wicked men, acting in ignorance, and sometimes 
of good men, acting intelligently. It is ours, accordingly, to desire in preference the better 
part, that we might attain our end in your correction, not by contention, and strife, and 
persecutions, but by kindly consolation, by friendly exhortation, by quiet discussion; as it 
is written, "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle toward all men, apt to 


263 Written about the year 397. In his Retractations (ii. 2) Augustin says: "The book against the Epistle of 
Manichaeus, called Fundamental, refutes only its commencement; but on the other parts of the epistle I have 
made notes, as required, refuting the whole, and sufficient to recall the argument, had I ever had leisure to write 
against the whole.” [The Fundamental Epistle seems to have been a sort of hand-book for Manichaean catechumens 
or Auditors. In making this document the basis of his attack, Augustin felt that he had selected the best-known 
and most generally accepted standard of the Manichaean faith. The tone of the work is conciliatory, yet some 
very sharp thrusts are made at Manichaean error. The claims of Mani to be the Paraclete are set aside, and the 
absurd cosmological fancies of Mani are ruthlessly exposed. Dualism is combated with substantially the same 
weapons as in the treatise Concerning Two Souls. We could wish that the author had found time to finish the 
treatise, and had thus preserved for us more of the Fundamental Epistle itself. This work was written after the 
author had become Bishop of Hippo. — A.H.N.] 


210 



To Heal Heretics is Better Than to Destroy Them. 


teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves ." 264 It is ours, I say, 
to desire to obtain this part in the work; it belongs to God to give what is good to those who 
desire it and ask for it. 


264 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. 


211 


Why the Manichceans Should Be More Gently Dealt with. 


Chapter 2. — Why the Manichaeans Should Be More Gently Dealt with. 

2. Let those rage against you who know not with what labor the truth is to be found 
and with what difficulty error is to be avoided. Let those rage against you who know not 
how rare and hard it is to overcome the fancies of the flesh by the serenity of a pious dispos- 
ition. Let those rage against you who know not the difficulty of curing the eye of the inner 
man that he may gaze upon his Sun, — not that sun which you worship, and which shines 
with the brilliance of a heavenly body in the eyes of carnal men and of beasts, — but that of 

'y zr 

which it is written through the prophet, "The Sun of righteousness has arisen upon me;" 
and of which it is said in the gospel, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that 
cometh into the world." Let those rage against you who know not with what sighs and 
groans the least particle of the knowledge of God is obtained. And, last of all, let those rage 
against you who have never been led astray in the same way that they see that you are. 


265 Mai. iv. 2. 

266 John i. 9. 


212 


Augustin Once a Manichcean. 


Chapter 3. — Augustin Once a Manichsean. 

3. For my part, I, — who, after much and long- continued bewilderment, attained at last, 
to the discovery of the simple truth, which is learned without being recorded in any fanciful 
legend; who, unhappy that I was, barely succeeded, by God’s help, in refuting the vain ima- 
ginations of my mind, gathered from theories and errors of various kinds; who so late sought 
the cure of my mental obscuration, in compliance with the call and the tender persuasion 
of the all-merciful Physician; who long wept that the immutable and inviolable Existence 
would vouchsafe to convince me inwardly of Himself, in harmony with the testimony of 
the sacred books; by whom, in fine, all those fictions which have such a firm hold on you, 
from your long familiarity with them, were diligently examined, and attentively heard, and 
too easily believed, and commended at every opportunity to the belief of others, and defended 
against opponents with determination and boldness, — I can on no account rage against you; 
for I must bear with you now as formerly I had to bear with myself, and I must be as patient 
towards you as my associates were with me, when I went madly and blindly astray in your 
beliefs. 

4. On the other hand, all must allow that you owe it to me, in return, to lay aside all 
arrogance on your part too, that so you may be the more disposed to gentleness, and may 
not oppose me in a hostile spirit, to your own hurt. Let neither of us assert that he has found 
truth; let us seek it as if it were unknown to us both. For truth can be sought with zeal and 
unanimity if by no rash presumption it is believed to have been already found and ascer- 
tained. But if I cannot induce you to grant me this, at least allow me to suppose myself a 
stranger now for the first time hearing you, for the first time examining your doctrines. I 
think my demand a just one. And it must be laid down as an understood thing that I am 
not to join you in your prayers, or in holding conventicles, or in taking the name of 
Manichaeus, unless you give me a clear explanation, without any obscurity, of all matters 
touching the salvation of the soul. 


213 



Proofs of the Catholic Faith. 


Chapter 4. — Proofs of the Catholic Faith. 

5. For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of 
which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, 
because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive 
their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith,) — not to 
speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many 
other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations 
keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, 
enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from 
the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge 
to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of 
Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; 
so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the 
Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such 
then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which 
keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness 
of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose 
itself. But with you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me, the promise 
of truth is the only thing that comes into play. Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to 
leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic 
Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from 
the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion. 


214 



Against the Title of the Epistle of Manichceus. 


Chapter 5. — Against the Title of the Epistle of Manichaeus. 

6. Let us see then what Manichaeus teaches me; and particularly let us examine that 
treatise which he calls the Fundamental Epistle, in which almost all that you believe is con- 
tained. For in that unhappy time when we read it we were in your opinion enlightened. 
The epistle begins thus: — "Manichaeus, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the providence of God 
the Father. These are wholesome words from the perennial and living fountain." Now, if 
you please, patiently give heed to my inquiry. I do not believe Manichaeus to be an apostle 
of Christ. Do not, I beg of you, be enraged and begin to curse. For you know that it is my 
rule to believe none of your statements without consideration. Therefore I ask, who is this 
Manichaeus? You will reply, An apostle of Christ. I do not believe it. Now you are at a loss 
what to say or do; for you promised to give knowledge of the truth, and here you are forcing 
me to believe what I have no knowledge of. Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and 
will attempt to find there a testimony to Manichaeus. But should you meet with a person 
not yet believing the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? 
For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic 
Church." So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell 
me not to believe in Manichaeus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe 
the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am 
precluded from believing you; — If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly 
use the gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichaeus; for it was at the command of the 
Catholics that I believed the gospel; — Again, if you say, You were right in believing the 
Catholics when they praised the gospel, but wrong in believing their vituperation of 
Manichaeus: do you think me such a fool as to believe or not to believe as you like or dislike, 
without any reason? It is therefore fairer and safer by far for me, having in one instance put 
faith in the Catholics, not to go over to you, till, instead of bidding me believe, you make 
me understand something in the clearest and most open manner. To convince me, then, 
you must put aside the gospel. If you keep to the gospel, I will keep to those who commanded 
me to believe the gospel; and, in obedience to them, I will not believe you at all. But if haply 
you should succeed in finding in the gospel an incontrovertible testimony to the apostleship 
of Manichaeus, you will weaken my regard for the authority of the Catholics who bid me 
not to believe you; and the effect of that will be, that I shall no longer be able to believe the 
gospel either, for it was through the Catholics that I got my faith in it; and so, whatever you 
bring from the gospel will no longer have any weight with me. Wherefore, if no clear proof 
of the apostleship of Manichaeus is found in the gospel, I will believe the Catholics rather 
than you. But if you read thence some passage clearly in favor of Manichaeus, I will believe 


267 [This is one of the earliest distinct assertions of the dependence of the Scriptures for authority on the 
Church. — A.H.N.] 


215 



Against the Title of the Epistle of Manichceus. 


neither them nor you: not them, for they lied to me about you; nor you, for you quote to 
me that Scripture which I had believed on the authority of those liars. But far be it that I 
should not believe the gospel; for believing it, I find no way of believing you too. For the 

ICO 

names of the apostles, as there recorded, do not include the name of Manichaeus. And 

who the successor of Christ’s betrayer was we read in the Acts of the Apostles; which 
book I must needs believe if I believe the gospel, since both writings alike Catholic authority 
commends to me. The same book contains the well-known narrative of the calling and 
apostleship of Paul. Read me now, if you can, in the gospel where Manichaeus is called 
an apostle, or in any other book in which I have professed to believe. Will you read the 
passage where the Lord promised the Holy Spirit as a Paraclete, to the apostles? Concerning 
which passage, behold how many and how great are the things that restrain and deter me 
from believing in Manichaeus. 


268 Matt. x. 2-4; Mark iii. 13-19; Luke vi. 13-18. 

269 Acts i. 26. 

270 Acts ix. 


216 


Why Manichceus Called Himself an Apostle of Christ. 


Chapter 6. — Why Manichaeus Called Himself an Apostle of Christ. 

7. For I am at a loss to see why this epistle begins, "Manichaeus, an apostle of Jesus 
Christ," and not Paraclete, an apostle of Jesus Christ. Or if the Paraclete sent by Christ sent 
Manichaeus, why do we read, "Manichaeus, an apostle of Jesus Christ," instead of Manichaeus, 
an apostle of the Paraclete? If you say that it is Christ Himself who is the Holy Spirit, you 
contradict the very Scripture, where the Lord says, "And I will send you another Paraclete." 

971 

Again, if you justify your putting of Christ’s name, not because it is Christ Himself who 
is also the Paraclete, but because they are both of the same substance, — that is, not because 
they are one person, but one existence [non quia unus est, sed quia unum sunt ], — Paul too 
might have used the words, Paul, an apostle of God the Father; for the Lord said, "I and the 
Father are one."“ Paul nowhere uses these words; nor does any of the apostles write 
himself an apostle of the Father. Why then this new fashion? Does it not savor of trickery 
of some kind or other? For if he thought it made no difference, why did he not for the sake 
of variety in some epistles call himself an apostle of Christ, and in others of the Paraclete? 
But in every one that I know of, he writes, of Christ; and not once, of the Paraclete. What 
do we suppose to be the reason of this, but that pride, the mother of all heretics, impelled 
the man to desire to seem to have been sent by the Paraclete, but to have been taken into so 
close a relation as to get the name of Paraclete himself? As the man Jesus Christ was not 
sent by the Son of God, that is, the power and wisdom of God — by which all things were 
made, but, according to the Catholic faith, was taken into such a relation as to be Himself 
the Son of God — that is, that in Himself the wisdom of God was displayed in the healing of 
sinners, — so Manichaeus wished it to be thought that he was so taken up by the Holy Spirit, 
whom Christ promised, that we are henceforth to understand that the names Manichaeus 
and Holy Spirit alike signify the apostle of Jesus Christ, — that is, one sent by Jesus Christ, 
who promised to send him. Singular audacity this! and unutterable sacrilege! 


271 John xiv. 16. 

272 John x. 30. 


217 


In What Sense the Followers of Manichceus Believe Him to Be the Holy Spi... 


Chapter 7. — In What Sense the Followers of Manichaeus Believe Him to Be the Holy 
Spirit. 

8. Besides, you should explain how it is that, while the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are 
united in equality of nature, as you also acknowledge, you are not ashamed to speak of 
Manichaeus, a man taken into union with the Holy Spirit, as born of ordinary generation; 
and yet you shrink from believing that the man taken into union with the only-begotten 
Wisdom of God was born of a Virgin. If human flesh, if generation [concubitus viri], if the 
womb of a woman could not contaminate the Holy Spirit, how could the Virgin’s womb 
contaminate the Wisdom of God? This Manichaeus, then, who boasts of a connection with 
the Holy Spirit, and of being spoken of in the gospel, must produce his claim to either of 
these two things, — that he was sent by the Spirit, or that he was taken into union with the 
Spirit. If he was sent, let him call himself the apostle of the Paraclete; if taken into union, 
let him allow that He whom the only-begotten Son took upon Himself had a human mother, 
since he admits a human father as well as mother in the case of one taken up by the Holy 
Spirit. Let him believe that the Word of God was not defiled by the virgin womb of Mary, 
since he exhorts us to believe that the Holy Spirit could not be defiled by the married life of 
his parents. But if you say that Manichaeus was united to the Spirit, not in the womb or 
before conception, but after his birth, still you must admit that he had a fleshly nature derived 
from man and woman. And since you are not afraid to speak of the blood and the bodily 
substance of Manichaeus as coming from ordinary generation, or of the internal impurities 
contained in his flesh, and hold that the Holy Spirit, who took on Himself, as you believe, 
this human being, was not contaminated by all those things, why should I shrink from 
speaking of the Virgin’s womb and body undefiled, and not rather believe that the Wisdom 
of God in union with the human being in his mother’s flesh still remained free from stain 
and pollution? Wherefore, as, whether your Manichaeus professes to be sent by or to be 
united with the Paraclete, neither statement can hold good, I am on my guard, and refuse 
to believe either in his mission or in his susception. 


218 



The Festival of the Birth-Day of Manichceus. 


Chapter 8. — The Festival of the Birth-Day of Manichseus. 

9. In adding the words, "by the providence of God the Father," what else did Manichseus 
design but that, having got the name of Jesus Christ, whose apostle he calls himself, and of 
God the Father, by whose providence he says he was sent by the Son, we should believe 
himself, as the Holy Spirit, to be the third person? His words are: "Manichseus, an apostle 
of Jesus Christ, by the providence of God the Father." The Holy Spirit is not named, though 
He ought specially to have been named by one who quotes to us in favor of his apostleship 
the promise of the Paraclete, that he may prevail upon ignorant people by the authority of 
the gospel. In reply to this, you of course say that in the name of the Apostle Manichseus 
we have the name of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, because He condescended to come into 
Manichseus. Why then, I ask again, should you cry out against the doctrine of the Catholic 
Church, that He in whom divine Wisdom came was born of a virgin, when you do not 
scruple to affirm the birth by ordinary generation of him in whom you say the Holy Spirit 
came? I cannot but suspect that this Manichseus, who uses the name of Christ to gain access 
to the minds of the ignorant, wished to be worshipped instead of Christ Himself. I will state 
briefly the reason of this conjecture. At the time when I was a student of your doctrines, to 
my frequent inquiries why it was that the Paschal feast of the Lord was celebrated generally 
with no interest, though sometimes there were a few languid worshippers, but no watchings, 
no prescription of any unusual fast, — in a word, no special ceremony, — while great honor 
is paid to your Bema, that is, the day on which Manichaeus was killed, when you have a 
platform with fine steps, covered with precious cloth, placed conspicuously so as to face the 
votaries, — the reply was, that the day to observe was the day of the passion of him who really 
suffered, and that Christ, who was not born, but appeared to human eyes in an unreal 
semblance of flesh, only feigned suffering, without really bearing it. Is it not deplorable, 
that men who wish to be called Christians are afraid of a virgin’s womb as likely to defile 
the truth, and yet are not afraid of falsehood? But to go back to the point, who that pays 
attention can help suspecting that the intention of Manichaeus in denying Christ’s being 
born of a woman, and having a human body, was that His passion, the time of which is now 
a great festival all over the world, might not be observed by the believers in himself, so as 
to lessen the devotion of the solemn commemoration which he wished in honor of the day 
of his own death? For to us it was a great attraction in the feast of the Bema that it was held 
during Pascha, since we used all the more earnestly to desire that festal day [the Bema] , that 
the other which was formerly most sweet had been withdrawn. 


219 



When the Holy Spirit Was Sent. 


Chapter 9. — When the Holy Spirit Was Sent. 

10. Perhaps you will say to me, When, then, did the Paraclete promised by the Lord 
come? As regards this, had I nothing else to believe on the subject, I should rather look for 
the Paraclete as still to come, than allow that He came in Manichaeus. But seeing that the 
advent of the Holy Spirit is narrated with perfect clearness in the Acts of the Apostles, where 
is the necessity of my so gratuitously running the risk of believing heretics? For in the Acts 
it is written as follows: "The former treatise have we made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus 
began both to do and teach, in the day in which He chose the apostles by the Holy Spirit, 
and commanded them to preach the gospel. By those to whom He showed Himself alive 
after His passion by many proofs in the daytime, He was seen forty days, teaching concerning 
the kingdom of God. And how He conversed with them, and commanded them that they 
should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, 
ye have heard of me. For John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall begin to be baptized 
with the Holy Spirit, whom also ye shall receive after not many days, that is, at Pentecost. 
When they had come, they asked him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time manifest Thyself? 
And when will be the kingdom of Israel? And He said unto them, No one can know the 
time which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive the power of the 
Holy Ghost coming upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in 

'yio. 

all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Behold you have 
here the Lord reminding His disciples of the promise of the Father, which they had heard 
from His mouth, of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Let us now see when He was sent; for 
shortly after we read as follows: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were 
all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a 
rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared 
unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all 
filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them 
utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation 
under heaven. And when the sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were 
confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all 
amazed, and marvelled, saying one to another, Are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 
and how heard we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and 
Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Armenia, and in Cappadocia, in 
Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the regions of Africa about Cyrene, 
and strangers of Rome, Jews, natives, Cretes, and Arabians, they heard them speak in their 
own tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt 
on account of what had happened, saying, What meaneth this? But others, mocking, said, 


273 Acts i. 1-8. 


220 


When the Holy Spirit Was Sent. 


9 V4 

These men are full of new wine." You see when the Holy Spirit came. What more do 
you wish? If the Scriptures are credible, should not I believe most readily in these Acts, 
which have the strongest testimony in their support, and which have had the advantage of 
becoming generally known, and of being handed down and of being publicly taught along 
with the gospel itself, which contains the promise of the Holy Spirit, which also we believe? 
On reading, then, these Acts of the Apostles, which stand, as regards authority, on a level 
with the gospel, I find that not only was the Holy Spirit promised to these true apostles, but 
that He was also sent so manifestly, that no room was left for errors on this subject. 


274 Acts ii. 1-13. 


221 


The Holy Spirit Twice Given. 


Chapter 10. — The Holy Spirit Twice Given. 

11. For the glorification of our Lord among men is His resurrection from the dead and 
His ascension to heaven. For it is written in the Gospel according to John: "The Holy Ghost 
was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." Now if the reason why He 
was not given was that Jesus was not yet glorified, He was given immediately on the glorific- 
ation of Jesus. And since that glorification was twofold, as regards man and as regards God, 
twice also was the Holy Spirit given: once, when, after His resurrection from the dead, He 
breathed on the face of His disciples, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost;" - and again, ten 
days after His ascension to heaven. This number ten signifies perfection; for to the number 
seven which embraces all created things, is added the trinity of the Creator. On these 
things there is much pious and sober discourse among spiritual men. But I must keep to 
my point; for my business at present is not to teach you, which you might think presumptu- 
ous, but to take the part of an inquirer, and learn from you, as I tried to do for nine years 
without success. Now, therefore, I have a document to believe on the subject of the Holy 
Spirit’s advent; and if you bid me not to believe this document, as your usual advice is not 
to believe ignorantly, without consideration, much less will I believe your documents. 
Away, then, with all books, and disclose the truth with logical clearness, so as to leave no 
doubt in my mind; or bring forward books where I shall find not an imperious demand for 
my belief, but a trustworthy statement of what I may learn. Perhaps you say this epistle is 
also of this character. Let me, then, no longer stop at the threshold: let us see the contents. 


275 John vii. 39. 

276 John xx. 22. 

277 [This is, of course, fanciful; but is quite in accordance with the exegetical methods of the time. — A.H.N.] 

278 [The Manichaeans assumed the role of rationalists, and scorned the credulity of ordinary believers. Yet 
they required in their followers an amount of credulity which only persons of a peculiar turn of mind could 
furnish. The same thing applies to modern rationalistic anti-Christian systems. The fact is, that it requires in- 
finitely less credulity to believe in historical Christianity than to disbelieve in it. — A.H.N.] 


222 


Manichceus Promises Truth, But Does Not Make Good His Word. 


Chapter 11. — Manichseus Promises Truth, But Does Not Make Good His Word. 

12. "These," he says, "are wholesome words from the perennial and living fountain; and 
whoever shall have heard them, and shall have first believed them, and then shall have ob- 
served the truths they set forth, shall never suffer death, but shall enjoy eternal life in glory. 
For he is to be judged truly blessed who has been instructed in this divine knowledge, by 
which he is made free and shall abide in everlasting life." And this, as you see, is a promise 
of truth, but not the bestowal of it. And you yourselves can easily see that any errors whatever 
might be dressed up in this fashion, so as under cover of a showy exterior to steal in unawares 
into the minds of the ignorant. Were he to say, These are pestiferous words from a poisonous 
fountain; and whoever shall have heard them, and shall have first believed them, and then 
have observed what they set forth, shall never be restored to life, but shall suffer a woful 
death as a criminal: for assuredly he is to be pronounced miserable who falls into this infernal 
error, in which he will sink so as to abide in everlasting torments; — were he to say this, he 
would say the truth; but instead of gaining any readers for his book, he would excite the 
greatest aversion in the minds of all into whose hands the book might come. Let us then 
pass on to what follows; nor let us be deceived by words which may be used alike by good 
and bad, by learned and unlearned. What, then, comes next? 

13. "May the peace," he says, "of the invisible God, and the knowledge of the truth, be 
with the holy and beloved brethren who both believe and also yield obedience to the divine 
precepts." Amen, say we. For the prayer is a most amiable and commendable one. Only 
we must bear in mind that these words might be used by false teachers as well as by good 
ones. So, if he said nothing more than this, all might safely read and embrace it. Nor should 
I disapprove of what follows: "May also the right hand of light protect you, and deliver you 
from every hostile assault, and from the snares of the world." In fact, I have no fault to find 
with the beginning of this epistle, till we come to the main subject of it. For I wish not to 
spend time on minor points. Now, then, for this writer’s plain statement of what is to be 
expected from him. 


223 



The Wild Fancies of Manichceus. The Battle Before the Constitution of the... 


Chapter 12. — The Wild Fancies of Manichseus. The Battle Before the Constitution 

of the World. 

14. "Of that matter," he says, "beloved brother of Patticus, of which you told me, saying 
that you desired to know the manner of the birth of Adam and Eve, whether they were 
produced by a word or sprung from matter, I will answer you as is fit. For in various writings 
and narratives we find different assertions made and different descriptions given by many 
authors. Now the real truth on the subject is unknown to all peoples, even to those who 
have long and frequently treated of it. For had they arrived at a clear knowledge of the 
generation of Adam and Eve, they would not have remained liable to corruption and death." 
Here, then, is a promise to us of clear knowledge of this matter, so that we shall not be liable 
to corruption and death. And if this does not suffice, see what follows: "Necessarily," he 
says, "many things have to be said by way of preface, before a discovery of this mystery free 
from all uncertainty can be made." This is precisely what I asked for, to have such evidence 
of the truth as to free my knowledge of it from all uncertainty. And even were the promise 
not made by this writer himself, it was proper for me to demand and to insist upon this, so 
that no opposition should make me ashamed of becoming a Manichaean from a Catholic 
Christian, in view of such a gain as that of perfectly clear and certain truth. Now, then, let 
us hear what he has to state. 

15. "Accordingly," he says, "hear first, if you please, what happened before the constitu- 
tion of the world, and how the battle was carried on, that you may be able to distinguish the 
nature of light from that of darkness." Such are the utterly false and incredible statements 
which this writer makes. Who can believe that any battle was fought before the constitution 
of the world? And even supposing it credible, we wish now to get something to know, not 
to believe. For to say that the Persians and Scythians long ago fought with one another is 
a credible statement; but while we believe it when we read or hear it, we cannot know it as 
a fact of experience or as a truth of the understanding. So, then, as I would repudiate any 
such statement on the ground that I have been promised something, not that I must believe 
on authority, but that I shall understand without any ambiguity; still less will I receive 
statements which are not only uncertain, but incredible. But what if he have some evidence 
to make these things clear and intelligible? Fet us hear, then, if we can, what follows with 
all possible patience and forbearance. 


224 



Two Opposite Substances. The Kingdom of Light. Manichceus Teaches Uncertainties... 


Chapter 13. — Two Opposite Substances. The Kingdom of Light. Manichseus Teaches 

Uncertainties Instead of Certainties. 

16. "In the beginning, then," he says, "these two substances were divided. The empire 
of light was held by God the Father, who is perpetual in holy origin, magnificent in virtue, 
true in His very nature, ever rejoicing in His own eternity, possessing in Himself wisdom 
and the vital senses, by which He also includes the twelve members of His light, which are 
the plentiful resources of his kingdom. Also in each of His members are stored thousands 
of untold and priceless treasures. But the Father Himself, chief in praise, incomprehensible 
in greatness, has united to Himself happy and glorious worlds, incalculable in number and 
duration, along with which this holy and illustrious Father and Progenitor resides, no poverty 
or infirmity being admitted in His magnificent realms. And these matchless realms are so 

97 o 

founded on the region of light and bliss, that no one can ever move or disturb them." 

17. Where is the proof of all this? And where did Manichaeus learn it? Do not frighten 
me with the name of the Paraclete. For, in the first place, I have come not to put faith in 
unknown things, but to get the knowledge of undoubted truths, according to the caution 
enjoined on me by yourselves. For you know how bitterly you taunt those who believe 
without consideration. And what is more, this writer, who here begins to tell of very 
doubtful things, himself promised a little before to give complete and well-grounded 
knowledge. 


279 [Compare the fuller account from the Fihrist in the Introduction. — A.H.N.] 


225 



Manichceus Promises the Knowledge of Undoubted Things, and Then Demands Faith... 


Chapter 14. — Manichaeus Promises the Knowledge of Undoubted Things, and Then 

Demands Faith in Doubtful Things. 

In the next place, if faith is what is required of me, I should prefer to keep to the Scripture, 
which tells me that the Holy Spirit came and inspired the apostles, to whom the Lord had 
promised to send Him. You must therefore prove, either that what Manichaeus says is true, 
and so make clear to me what I am unable to believe; or that Manichaeus is the Holy Spirit, 
and so lead me to believe in what you cannot make clear. For I profess the Catholic faith, 
and by it I expect to attain certain knowledge. Since, then, you try to overthrow my faith, 
you must supply me with certain knowledge, if you can, that you may convict me of having 
adopted my present belief without consideration. Y ou make two distinct propositions, — one 
when you say that the speaker is the Holy Spirit, and another when you say that what the 
speaker teaches is evidently true. I might fairly ask undeniable proof for both propositions. 
But I am not greedy and require to be convinced only of one. Prove this person to be the 
Holy Spirit, and I will believe what he says to be true, even without understanding it; or 
prove that what he says is true, and I will believe him to be the Holy Spirit, even without 
evidence. Could anything be fairer or kinder than this? But you cannot prove either one 
or other of these propositions. You can find nothing better than to praise your own faith 
and ridicule mine. So, after having in my turn praised my belief and ridiculed yours, what 
result do you think we shall arrive at as regards our judgment and our conduct, but to part 
company with those who promise the knowledge of indubitable things, and then demand 
from us faith in doubtful things? while we shall follow those who invite us to begin with 
believing what we cannot yet fully perceive, that, strengthened by this very faith, we may 
come into a position to know what we believe by the inward illumination and confirmation 
of our minds, due no longer to men, but to God Himself. 

18. And as I have asked this writer to prove these things to me, I ask him now where 
he learned them himself. If he replies that they were revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, and 
that his mind was divinely enlightened that he might know them to be certain and evident, 
he himself points to the distinction between knowing and believing. The knowledge is his 
to whom these things are fully made known as proved; but in the case of those who only 
hear his account of these things, there is no knowledge imparted, but only a believing acqui- 
escence required. Whoever thoughtlessly yields this becomes a Manichaean, not by knowing 
undoubted truth, but by believing doubtful statements. Such were we when in our inexper- 
ienced youth we were deceived. Instead, therefore, of promising knowledge, or clear evidence, 
or the settlement of the question free from all uncertainty, Manichaeus ought to have said 
that these things were clearly proved to him, but that those who hear his account of them 
must believe him without evidence. But were he to say this, who would not reply to him, 
If I must believe without knowing, why should I not prefer to believe those things which 
have a widespread notoriety from the consent of learned and unlearned, and which among 


226 



Manichceus Promises the Knowledge of Undoubted Things, and Then Demands Faith... 


all nations are established by the weightiest authority? From fear of having this said to him, 
Manichaeus bewilders the inexperienced by first promising the knowledge of certain truths, 
and then demanding faith in doubtful things. And then, if he is asked to make it plain that 
these things have been proved to himself, he fails again, and bids us believe this too. Who 
can tolerate such imposture and arrogance? 


227 



The Doctrine of Manichceus Not Only Uncertain, But False. His Absurd Fancy. . . 


Chapter 15. — The Doctrine of Manichseus Not Only Uncertain, But False. His Absurd 
Fancy of a Land and Race of Darkness Bordering on the Holy Region and the 
Substance of God. The Error, First of All, of Giving to the Nature of God Limits 
and Borders, as If God Were a Material Substance, Having Extension in Space. 

19. What if I shall have shown, with the help of God and of our Lord, that this writer’s 
statements are false as well as uncertain? What more unfortunate thing can be found than 
that superstition which not only fails to impart the knowledge and the truth which it 
promises, but also teaches what is directly opposed to knowledge and truth? This will appear 
more clearly from what follows: "In one direction on the border of this bright and holy land 
there was a land of darkness deep and vast in extent, where abode fiery bodies, destructive 
races. Here was boundless darkness, flowing from the same source in immeasurable 
abundance, with the productions properly belonging to it. Beyond this were muddy turbid 
waters with their inhabitants; and inside of them winds terrible and violent with their prince 
and their progenitors. Then again a fiery region of destruction, with its chiefs and peoples. 
And similarly inside of this a race full of smoke and gloom, where abode the dreadful prince 
and chief of all, having around him innumerable princes, himself the mind and source of 
them all. Such are the five natures of the pestiferous land." 

20. To speak of God as an aerial or even as an ethereal body is absurd in the view of all 
who, with a clear mind, possessing some measure of discernment, can perceive the nature 
of wisdom and truth as not extended or scattered in space, but as great, and imparting 
greatness without material size, nor confined more or less in any direction, but throughout 
co- extensive with the Father of all, nor having one thing here and another there, but every- 

9 

where perfect, everywhere present.” 


280 [This exalted view of God Augustin held in common with the Neo-Platonists. — A.H.N.] 


228 



The Soul, Though Mutable, Has No Material Form. It is All Present in Every. . . 


Chapter 16. — The Soul, Though Mutable, Has No Material Form. It is All Present 

in Every Part of the Body. 

But why speak of truth and wisdom which surpass all the powers of the soul, when the 
nature of the soul itself, which is known to be mutable, still has no kind of material extension 
in space? For whatever consists of any kind of gross matter must necessarily be divisible 
into parts, having one in one place, and another in another. Thus, the finger is less than the 
whole hand, and one finger is less than two; and there is one place for this finger, and another 
for that, and another for the rest of the hand. And this applies not to organized bodies only, 
but also to the earth, each part of which has its own place, so that one cannot be where the 
other is. So in moisture, the smaller quantity occupies a smaller space, and the larger 
quantity a larger space; and one part is at the bottom of the cup, and another part near the 
mouth. So in air, each part has its own place; and it is impossible for the air in this house 
to have along with itself, in the same house at the same moment, the air that the neighbors 
have. And even as regards light itself, one part pours through one window, and another 
through another; and a greater through the larger, and a smaller through the smaller. Nor, 
in fact, can there be any bodily substance, whether celestial or terrestrial, whether aerial or 
moist, which is not less in part than in whole, or which can possibly have one part in the 
place of another at the same time; but, having one thing in one place and another in another, 
its extension in space is a substance which has distinct limits and parts, or, so to speak, sec- 
tions. The nature of the soul, on the other hand, though we leave out of account its power 
of perceiving truth, and consider only its inferior power of giving unity to the body, and of 
sensation in the body, does not appear to have any material extension in space. For it is all 
present in each separate part of its body when it is all present in any sensation. There is not 
a smaller part in the finger, and a larger in the arm, as the bulk of the finger is less than that 
of the arm; but the quantity everywhere is the same, for the whole is present everywhere. 
For when the finger is touched, the whole mind feels, though the sensation is not through 
the whole body. No part of the mind is unconscious of the touch, which proves the presence 
of the whole. And yet it is not so present in the finger or in the sensation as to abandon the 
rest of the body, or to gather itself up into the one place where the sensation occurs. For 
when it is all present in the sensation in a finger, if another part, say the foot, be touched, it 
does not fail to be all present in this sensation too: so that at the same moment it is all 
present in different places, without leaving one in order to be in the other, and without 
having one part in one, and another in the other; but by this power showing itself to be all 
present at the same moment in separate places. Since it is all present in the sensations of 

o 1 

these places, it proves that it is not bound by the conditions of space. 

281 [Modern mental physiologists differ among themselves as regards the presence of the mind throughout 

the entire nervous system; some maintaining the view here presented, and others making the brain to be the 


229 



The Memory Con tains the Ideas of Places of the Greatest Size. 


Chapter 17. — The Memory Contains the Ideas of Places of the Greatest Size. 

Again, if we consider the mind’s power of remembering not the objects of the intellect, 
but material obj ects, such as we see brutes also remembering (for cattle find their way without 
mistake in familiar places, and animals return to their cribs, and dogs recognize the persons 
of their masters, and when asleep they often growl, or break out into a bark, which could 
not be unless their mind retained the images of things before seen or perceived by some 
bodily sense), who can conceive rightly where these images are contained, where they are 
kept, or where they are formed? If, indeed, these images were no larger than the size of our 
body, it might be said that the mind shapes and retains them in the bodily space which 
contains itself. But while the body occupies a small material space, the mind revolves images 
of vast extent, of heaven and earth, with no want of room, though they come and go in 
crowds; so that clearly, the mind is not diffused through space: for instead of being contained 
in images of the largest spaces, it rather contains them; not, however, in any material recept- 
acle, but by a mysterious faculty or power, by which it can increase or diminish them, can 
contract them within narrow limits, or expand them indefinitely, can arrange or disarrange 
them at pleasure, can multiply them or reduce them to a few or to one. 


seat of sensation, and the nerves telegraphic lines, so to speak, for the communication of impressions from the 
various parts of the body to the brain. Compare Carpenter: Mental Physiology, and Calderwood: Mind and 
Brain. — A.H.N.] 


230 



The Understanding Judges of the Truth of Things, and of Its Own Action. 


Chapter 18. — The Understanding Judges of the Truth of Things, and of Its Own 

Action. 

What, then, must be said of the power of perceiving truth, and of making a vigorous 
resistance against these very images which take their shape from impressions on the bodily 
senses, when they are opposed to the truth? This power discerns the difference between, to 
take a particular example, the true Carthage and its own imaginary one, which it changes 
as it pleases with perfect ease. It shows that the countless worlds of Epicurus, in which his 
fancy roamed without restraint, are due to the same power of imagination, and, not to 
multiply examples, that we get from the same source that land of light, with its boundless 
extent, and the five dens of the race of darkness, with their inmates, in which the fancies of 
Man ich reus have dared to usurp for themselves the name of truth. What then is this power 
which discerns these things? Clearly, whatever its extent may be, it is greater than all these 
things, and is conceived of without any such material images. Find, if you can, space for 
this power; give it a material extension; provide it with a body of huge size. Assuredly if 
you think well, you cannot. For of everything of this corporeal nature your mind forms an 
opinion as to its divisibility, and you make of such things one part greater and another less, 
as much as you like; while that by which you form a judgment of these things you perceive 
to be above them, not in local loftiness of place, but in dignity of power. 


231 



If the Mind Has No Material Extension, Much Less Has God. 


Chapter 19. — If the Mind Has No Material Extension, Much Less Has God. 

21. So then, if the mind, so liable to change, whether from a multitude of dissimilar 
desires, or from feelings varying according to the abundance or the want of desirable things, 
or from these endless sports of the fancy, or from forgetfulness and remembrance, or from 
learning and ignorance; if the mind, I say, exposed to frequent change from these and the 
like causes, is perceived to be without any local or material extension, and to have a vigor 
of action which surmounts these material conditions, what must we think or conclude of 
God Himself, who remains superior to all intelligent beings in His freedom from perturbation 
and from change, giving to every one what is due? Him the mind dares to express more 
easily than to see; and the clearer the sight, the less is the power of expression. And yet this 
God, if, as the Manichaean fables are constantly asserting, He were limited in extension in 
one direction and unlimited in others, could be measured by so many subdivisions or frac- 
tions of greater or less size, as every one might fancy; so that, for example, a division of the 
extent of two feet would be less by eight parts than one of ten feet. For this is the property 
of all natures which have extension in space, and therefore cannot be all in one place. But 
even with the mind this is not the case; and this degrading and perverted idea of the mind 
is found among people who are unfit for such investigations. 


232 



Refutation of the Absurd Idea of Two Territories. 


Chapter 20. — Refutation of the Absurd Idea of Two Territories. 

22. But perhaps, instead of thus addressing carnal minds, we should rather descend to 
the views of those who either dare not or are as yet unfit to turn from the consideration of 
material things to the study of an immaterial and spiritual nature, and who thus are unable 
to reflect upon their own power of reflection, so as to see how it forms a judgment of mater- 
ial extension without itself possessing it. Let us descend then to these material ideas, and 
let us ask in what direction, and on what border of the shining and sacred territory, to use 
the expressions of Manichaeus, was the region of darkness? For he speaks of one direction 
and border, without saying which, whether the right or the left. In any case, it is clear that 
to speak of one side implies that there is another. But where there are three or more sides, 
either the figure is bounded in all directions, or if it extends infinitely in one direction, still 
it must be limited in the directions where it has sides. If, then, on one side of the region of 
light there was the race of darkness, what bounded it on the other side or sides? The 
Manichaeans say nothing in reply to this; but when pressed, they say that on the other sides 
the region of light, as they call it, is infinite, that is, extends throughout boundless space. 
They do not see, what is plain to the dullest understanding, that in that case there could be 
no sides? For the sides are where it is bounded. What, then, he says, though there are no 
sides? But what you said of one direction or side, implied of necessity the existence of an- 
other direction and side, or other directions and sides. For if there was only one side, you 
should have said, on the side, not on one side ; as in reference to our body we say properly, 
By one eye, because there is another; or on one breast, because there is another. But if we 
spoke of a thing as being on one nose, or one navel, we should be ridiculed by learned and 
unlearned, since there is only one. But I do not insist on words, for you may have used one 
in the sense of the only one. 


233 



This Region of Light Must Be Material If It is Joined to the Region of Darkness. . . . 


Chapter 21. — This Region of Light Must Be Material If It is Joined to the Region of 

Darkness. The Shape of the Region of Darkness Joined to the Region of Light. 

What, then, bordered on the side of the region which you call shining and sacred? The 
region, you reply, of darkness. Do you then allow this latter region to have been material? 
Of course you must, since you assert that all bodies derive their origin from it. How then 
is it that, dull and carnal as you are, you do not see that unless both regions were material, 
they could not have their sides joined to one another? How could you ever be so blinded 
in mind as to say that only the region of darkness was material, and that the so-called region 
of light was immaterial and spiritual? My good friends, let us open our eyes for once, and 
see, now that we are told of it, what is most obvious, that two regions cannot be joined at 
their sides unless both are material. 

23 . Or if we are too dull and stupid to see this, let us hear whether the region of darkness 
too has one side, and is boundless in the other directions, like the region of light. They do 
not hold this from fear of making it seem equal to God. Accordingly they make it boundless 
in depth and in length; but upwards, above it, they maintain that there is an infinity of empty 
space. And lest this region should appear to be a fraction equal in amount to half of that 
representing the region of light, they narrow it also on two sides. As if, to give the simplest 
illustration, a piece of bread were made into four squares, three white and one black; then 
suppose the three white pieces joined as one, and conceive them as infinite upwards and 
downwards, and backwards in all directions: this represents the Manichaean region of light. 
Then conceive the black square infinite downwards and backwards, but with infinite 
emptiness above it: this is their region of darkness. But these are secrets which they disclose 
to very eager and anxious inquirers. 


234 



The Form of the Region of Light the Worse of the Two. 


Chapter 22. — The Form of the Region of Light the Worse of the Two. 

Well, then, if this is so, the region of darkness is clearly touched on two sides by the region 
of light. And if it is touched on two sides, it must touch on two. So much for its being on 
one side, as we were told before. 

24. And what an unseemly appearance is this of the region of light! — like a cloven arch, 
with a black wedge inserted below, bounded only in the direction of the cleft, and having a 
void space interposed where the boundless emptiness stretches above the region of darkness. 
Indeed, the form of the region of darkness is better than that of the region of light: for the 
former cleaves, the latter is cloven; the former fills the gap which is made in the latter; the 
former has no void in it, while the latter is undefined in all directions, except that where it 
is filled up by the wedge of darkness. In an ignorant and greedy notion of giving more 
honor to a number of pans than to a single one, so that the region of light should have six, 
three upwards and three downwards, they have made this region be split up, instead of 
sundering the other. For, according to this figure, though there maybe no commixture of 
darkness with light, there is certainly penetration. 


235 



The Anthropomorphites Not So Bad as the Manichceans. 


Chapter 23. — The Anthropomorphites Not So Bad as the Manichaeans. 

25. Compare, now, not spiritual men of the Catholic faith, whose mind, as far as is 
possible in this life, perceives that the divine substance and nature has no material extension, 
and has no shape bounded by lines, but the carnal and weak of our faith, who, when they 
hear the members of the body used figuratively, as, when God’s eyes or ears are spoken of, 
are accustomed, in the license of fancy, to picture God to themselves in a human form; 
compare these with the Manichceans, whose custom it is to make known their silly stories 
to anxious inquirers as if they were great mysteries: and consider who have the most allow- 
able and respectable ideas of God, — those who think of Him as having a human form which 
is the most excellent of its kind, or those who think of Him as having boundless material 
extension, yet not in all directions, but with three parts infinite and solid, while in one part 
He is cloven, with an empty void, and with undefined space above, while the region of 
darkness is inserted wedge-like below. Or perhaps the proper expression is, that He is un- 
confined above in His own nature, but encroached on below by a hostile nature. I join with 
you in laughing at the folly of carnal men, unable as yet to form spiritual conceptions, who 
think of God as having a human form. Do you too join me, if you can, in laughing at those 
whose unhappy conceptions represent God as having a shape cloven or cut in such an un- 
seemly and unbecoming way, with such an empty gap above, and such a dishonorable cur- 
tailment below. Besides, there is this difference, that these carnal people, who think of God 
as having a human form, if they are content to be nourished with milk from the breast of 
the Catholic Church, and do not rush headlong into rash opinions, but cultivate in the 
Church the pious habit of inquiry, and there ask that they may receive, and knock that it 
may be opened to them, begin to understand spiritually the figures and parables of the 
Scriptures, and gradually to perceive that the divine energies are suitably set forth under 
the name, sometimes of ears, sometimes of eyes, sometimes of hands or feet, or even of 
wings and feathers a shield too, and sword, and helmet, and all the other innumerable things. 
And the more progress they make in this understanding, the more are they confirmed as 
Catholics. The Manichceans, on the other hand, when they abandon their material fancies, 
cease to be Manichaeans. For this is the chief and special point in their praises of Manichaeus, 
that the divine mysteries which were taught figuratively in books from ancient times were 
kept for Manichaeus, who was to come last, to solve and demonstrate; and so after him no 
other teacher will come from God, for he has said nothing in figures or parables, but has 
explained ancient sayings of that kind, and has himself taught in plain, simple terms. 
Therefore, when the Manichaeans hear these words of their founder, on one side and border 
of the shining and sacred region was the region of darkness, they have no interpretations 
to fall back on. Wherever they turn, the wretched bondage of their own fancies brings them 
upon clefts or sudden stoppages and joinings or sunderings of the most unseemly kind, 
which it would be shocking to believe as true of any immaterial nature, even though mutable, 


236 



The Anthropomorphites Not So Bad as the Manichceans. 


like the mind, not to speak of the immutable nature of God. And yet if I were unable to rise 
to higher things, and to bring my thoughts from the entanglement of false imaginations 
which are impressed on the memory by the bodily senses, into the freedom and purity of 
spiritual existence, how much better would it be to think of God as in the form of a man, 
than to fasten that wedge of darkness to His lower edge, and, for want of a covering for the 
boundless vacuity above to leave it void and unoccupied throughout infinite space! What 
notion could be worse than this? What darker error can be taught or imagined? 


237 



Of the Number of Natures in the Manichcean Fiction. 


Chapter 24. — Of the Number of Natures in the Manichsean Fiction. 

26. Again, I wish to know, when I read of God the Father and His kingdoms founded 
on the shining and happy region, whether the Father and His kingdoms, and the region, 
are all of the same nature and substance. If they are, then it is not another nature or sort of 
body of God which the wedge of the race of darkness cleaves and penetrates, which itself is 
an unspeakably revolting thing, but it is actually the very nature of God which undergoes 
this. Think of this, I beseech you: as you are men, think of it, and flee from it; and if by 
tearing open your breasts you can cast out by the roots such profane fancies from your faith, 
I pray you to do it. Or will you say that these three are not of one and the same nature, but 
that the Father is of one, the kingdoms of another, and the region of another, so that each 
has a peculiar nature and substance, and that they are arranged according to their degree 
of excellence? If this is true, Manichaeus should have taught that there are four natures, not 
two; or if the Father and the kingdoms have one nature, and the region only one of its own, 
he should have made three. Or if he made only two, because the region of darkness does 
not belong to God, in what sense does the region of light belong to God? For if it has a 
nature of its own, and if God neither generated nor made it, it does not belong to Him, and 
the seat of His kingdom is in what belongs to another. Or if it belongs to Him because of 
its vicinity, the region of darkness must do so too; for it not only borders on the region of 
light, but penetrates it so as to sever it in two. Again, if God generated it, it cannot have a 
separate nature. For what is generated by God must be what God is, as the Catholic Church 
believes of the only begotten Son. So you are brought back of necessity to that shocking 
and detestable profanity, that the wedge of darkness sunders not a region distinct and sep- 
arate from God, but the very nature of God. Or if God did not generate, but make it, of 
what did He make it? Or if of Himself, what is this but to generate? If of some other nature, 
was this nature good or evil? If good, there must have been some good nature not belonging 
to God; which you will scarcely have the boldness to assert. If evil, the race of darkness 
cannot have been the only evil nature. Or did God take a part of that region and turn it into 
a region of light, in order to found His kingdom upon it? If He had, He would have taken 
the whole, and there would have been no evil nature left. If God, then, did not make the 

989 

region of light of a substance distinct from His own, He must have made it of nothing.” 


282 [There is sufficient reason to think that Mani identified God with the kingdom and the region of light. 
See Introduction. — A.H.N.] 


238 



Omnipotence Creates Good Things Differing in Degree. In Every Description... 


Chapter 25. — Omnipotence Creates Good Things Differing in Degree. In Every 

Description Whatsoever of the Junction of the Two Regions There is Either 

Impropriety or Absurdity. 

27. If, then, you are now convinced that God is able to create some good thing out of 
nothing, come into the Catholic Church, and learn that all the natures which God has created 
and founded in their order of excellence from the highest to the lowest are good, and some 
better than others; and that they were made of nothing, though God, their Maker, made use 
of His own wisdom as an instrument, so to speak, to give being to what was not, and that 
as far as it had being it might be good, and that the limitation of its being might show that 
it was not begotten by God, but made out of nothing. If you examine the matter, you will 
find nothing to keep you from agreeing to this. For you cannot make your region of light 
to be what God is, without making the dark section an infringement on the very nature of 
God. Nor can you say that it was generated by God, without being reduced to the same 
enormity, from the necessity of concluding that as begotten of God, it must be what God 
is. Nor can you say that it was distinct from Him, lest you should be forced to admit that 
God placed His kingdom in what did not belong to Him, and that there are three natures. 
Nor can you say that God made it of a substance distinct from His own, without making 
something good besides God, or something evil besides the race of darkness. It remains, 
therefore that you must confess that God made the region of light out of nothing: and you 
are unwilling to believe this; because if God could make out of nothing some great good 
which yet was inferior to Himself, He could also, since He is good, and grudges no good, 
make another good inferior to the former, and again a third inferior to the second, and so 
on, in order down to the lowest good of created natures, so that the whole aggregate, instead 
of extending indefinitely without number or measure should have a fixed and definite con- 
sistency. Again, if you will not allow this either, that God made the region of light out of 
nothing, you will have no escape from the shocking profanities to which your opinions lead. 

28. Perhaps, since the carnal imagination can fancy any shapes it likes, you might be 
able to devise some other form for the junction of the two regions, instead of presenting to 
the mind such a disagreeable and painful description as this, that the region of God, 
whether it be of the same nature as God or not, where at least God’s kingdoms are founded, 
lies through immensity in such a huge mass that its members stretch loosely to an infinite 
extent, and that on their lower part that wedge of the region of darkness, itself of boundless 
size encroaches upon them. But whatever other form you contrive for the junction of these 
two regions, you cannot erase what Manichaeus has written. I refer not to other treatises 
where a more particular description is given, — for perhaps, because they are in the hands 
of only a few, there might not be so much difficulty with them, — but to this Fundamental 
Epistle which we are now considering, with which all of you who are called enlightened are 


239 



Omnipotence Creates Good Things Differing in Degree. In Every Description... 


usually quite familiar. Here the words are: "On one side the border of the shining and sacred 
region was the region of darkness, deep and boundless in extent." 


240 



The Manichceans are Reduced to the Choice of a Tortuous, or Curved, or Straight... 


Chapter 26. — The Manichseans are Reduced to the Choice of a Tortuous, or Curved, 
or Straight Line of Junction. The Third Kind of Line Would Give Symmetry 
and Beauty Suitable to Both Regions. 

What more is to be got? we have now heard what is on the border. Make what shape 
you please, draw any kind of lines you like, it is certain that the junction of this boundless 
mass of the region of darkness to the region of light must have been either by a straight line, 
or a curved, or a tortuous one. If the line of junction is tortuous the side of the region of 
light must also be tortuous; otherwise its straight side joined to a tortuous one would leave 
gaps of infinite depth, instead of having vacuity only above the land of darkness, as we were 
told before. And if there were such gaps, how much better it would have been for the region 
of light to have been still more distant, and to have had a greater vacuity between, so that 
the region of darkness might not touch it at all! Then there might have been such a gap of 
bottomless depth, that, on the rise of any mischief in that race, although the chiefs of darkness 
might have the foolhardy wish to cross over, they would fall headlong into the gap (for 
bodies cannot fly without air to support them); and as there is infinite space downwards, 
they could do no more harm, though they might live for ever, for they would be for ever 
falling. Again, if the line of junction was a curved one, the region of light must also have 
had the disfigurement of a curve to answer it. Or if the land of darkness were curved inwards 
like a theatre, there would be as much disfigurement in the corresponding line in the region 
of light. Or if the region of darkness had a curved line, and the region of light a straight 
one, they cannot have touched at all points. And certainly, as I said before, it would have 
been better if they had not touched, and if there was such a gap between that the regions 
might be kept distinctly separate, and that rash evildoers might fall headlong so as to be 
harmless. If, then, the line of junction was a straight one, there remain, of course, no more 
gaps or grooves, but, on the contrary, so perfect a junction as to make the greatest possible 
peace and harmony between the two regions. What more beautiful or more suitable than 
that one side should meet the other in a straight line, without bends or breaks to disturb the 
natural and permanent connection throughout endless space and endless duration? And 
even though there was a separation, the straight sides of both regions would be beautiful in 
themselves, as being straight; and besides, even in spite of an interval, their correspondence, 
as running parallel, though not meeting, would give a symmetry to both. With the addition 
of the junction, both regions become perfectly regular and harmonious; for nothing can be 
devised more beautiful in description or in conception than this junction of two straight 
lines 283 


283 [This discussion of the lines bounding the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness seems very 
much like trifling, but Augustin’s aim was to bring the Manichaean representations into ridicule. — A.H.N.] 

241 



The Beauty of the Straight Line Might Be Taken from the Region of Darkness... 


Chapter 27. — The Beauty of the Straight Line Might Be Taken from the Region of 

Darkness Without Taking Anything from Its Substance. So Evil Neither Takes 

from Nor Adds to the Substance of the Soul. The Straightness of Its Side Would 

Be So Far a Good Bestowed on the Region of Darkness by God the Creator. 

29. What is to be done with unhappy minds, perverse in error, and held fast by custom? 
These men do not know what they say when they say those things; for they do not consider. 
Listen to me; no one forces you, no one quarrels with you, no one taunts you with past errors, 
unless some one who has not experienced the divine mercy in deliverance from error: all 
we desire is that the errors should some time or other be abandoned. Think a little without 
animosity or bitterness. We are all human beings: let us hate, not one another, but errors 
and lies. Think a little, I pray you. God of mercy, help them to think, and kindle in the 
minds of inquirers the true light. If anything is plain, is not this, that right is better than 
wrong? Give me, then, a calm and quiet answer to this, whether making crooked the right 
line of the region of darkness which joins on to the right line of the region of light, would 
not detract from its beauty. If you will not be dogged, you must confess that not only is 
beauty taken from it by its being made crooked, but also the beauty which it might have had 
from connection with the right line of the region of light. Is it the case, then, that in this 
loss of beauty, in which right is made crooked, and harmony becomes discord, and agreement 
disagreement, there is any loss of substance? Learn, then, from this that substance is not 
evil; but as in the body, by change of form for the worse, beauty is lost, or rather lessened, 
and what was called fair before is said to be ugly, and what was pleasing becomes displeasing, 
so in the mind the seemliness of a right will, which makes a just and pious life, is injured 
when the will changes for the worse; and by this sin the mind becomes miserable, instead 
of enjoying as before the happiness which comes from the ornament of a right will, without 
any gain or loss of substance. 

30. Consider, again, that though we admit that the border of the region of darkness was 
evil for other reasons, such as that it was dim and dark, or any other reason, still it was not 
evil in being straight. So, if I admit that there was some evil in its color, you must admit 
that there was some good in its straightness. Whatever the amount of this good, it is not 
allowable to attribute it to any other than God the Maker, from whom we must believe that 
all good in whatsoever nature comes, if we are to escape deadly error. It is absurd, then, to 
say that this region is perfect evil, when in its straightness of border is found the good of 
not a little beauty of a material kind; and also to make this region to be altogether estranged, 
from the almighty and good God, when this good which we find in it can be attributed to 
no other but the author of all good things. But this border, too, we are told, was evil. Well, 
suppose it evil: it would surely have been worse had it been crooked instead of straight. 
And how can that be the perfection of evil than which something worse than itself can be 


242 



The Beauty of the Straight Line Might Be Taken from the Region of Darkness... 


thought of? And to be worse implies that there is some good, the want of which makes the 
thing worse. Here the want of straightness would make the line worse. Therefore its 
straightness is something good. And you will never answer the question whence this 
goodness comes, without reference to Him from whom we must acknowledge that all good 
things come, whether small or great. But now we shall pass on from considering this border 
to something else. 


243 



Manichceus Places Five Natures in the Region of Darkness. 


Chapter 28. — Manichseus Places Five Natures in the Region of Darkness. 

31. "There dwelt," he says, "in that region fiery bodies, destructive races." By speaking 
of dwelling, he must mean that those bodies were animated and in life. But, not to appear 
to cavil at a word, let us see how he divides into five classes all these inhabitants of this region. 
"Here," he says, "was boundless darkness, flowing from the same source in immeasurable 
abundance, with the productions properly belonging to it. Beyond this were muddy turbid 
waters, with their inhabitants; and inside of them winds terrible and violent, with their 
prince and their progenitors. Then, again, a fiery region of destruction, with its chiefs and 
peoples. And, similarly, inside of this a race full of smoke and gloom, where abode the 
dreadful prince and chief of all, having around him innumerable princes, himself the mind 
and source of them all. Such are the five natures of the pestiferous region." We find here 
five natures mentioned as part of one nature, which he calls the pestiferous region. The 
natures are darkness, waters, winds, fire, smoke; which he so arranges as to make darkness 
first, beginning at the outside. Inside of darkness he puts the waters; inside of the waters, 
the winds; inside of the winds, the fire; inside of the fire, the smoke. And each of these 
natures had its peculiar kind of inhabitants, which were likewise five in number. For to the 
question, Whether there was only one kind in all, or different kinds corresponding to the 
different natures; the reply is, that they were different: as in other books we find it stated 
that the darkness had serpents; the waters swimming creatures, such as fish; the winds flying 
creatures, such as birds; the fire quadrupeds, such as horses, lions, and the like; the smoke 
bipeds, such as men. 


244 



The Refutation of This Absurdity. 


Chapter 29. — The Refutation of This Absurdity. 

32. Whose arrangement, then, is this? Who made the distinctions and the classification? 
Who gave the number, the qualities, the forms, the life? For all these things are in themselves 
good, nor could each of the natures have them except from the bestowal of God, the author 
of all good things. For this is not like the descriptions or suppositions of poets about an 
imaginary chaos, as being a shapeless mass, without form, without quality, without meas- 
urement, without weight and number, without order and variety; a confused something, 
absolutely destitute of qualities, so that some Greek writers call it dnoiov. So far from being 
like this is the Manichaean description of the region of darkness, as they call it, that, in a 
directly contrary style, they add side to side, and join border to border; they number five 
natures; they separate, arrange, and assign to each its own qualities. Nor do they leave the 
natures barren or waste, but people them with their proper inhabitants; and to these, again, 
they give suitable forms, and adapted to their place of habitation, besides giving the chief 
of all endowments, life. To recount such good things as these, and to speak of them as 
having no connection with God, the author of all good things, is to lose sight of the excellence 
of the order in the things, and of the great evil of the error which leads to such a conclusion. 


245 



The Number of Good Things in Those Natures Which Manichceus Places in the... 


Chapter 30. — The Number of Good Things in Those Natures Which Manichseus 

Places in the Region of Darkness. 

33. "But," is the reply, "the orders of beings inhabiting those five natures were fierce 
and destructive." As if I were praising their fierceness and destructiveness. I, you see, join 
with you in condemning the evils you attribute to them; join you with me in praising the 
good things which you ascribe to them: so it will appear that there is a mixture of good and 
evil in what you call the last extremity of evil. If I join you in condemning what is mischiev- 
ous in this region, you must join with me in praising what is beneficial. For these beings 
could not have been produced, or nourished, or have continued to inhabit that region, 
without some salutary influence. I join with you in condemning the darkness; join with me 
in praising the productiveness. For while you call the darkness immeasurable, you speak 
of "suitable productions." Darkness, indeed, is not a real substance, and means no more 
than the absence of light, as nakedness means the want of clothing, and emptiness the want 
of material contents: so that darkness could produce nothing, although a region in dark- 
ness — that is, in the absence of light — might produce something. But passing over this for 
the present, it is certain that where productions arise there must be a beneficent adaptation 
of substances, as well as a symmetrical arrangement and construction in unity of the members 
of the beings produced, — a wise adjustment making them agree with one another. And 
who will deny that all these things are more to be praised than darkness is to be condemned? 
If I join with you in condemning the muddiness of the waters, you must join with me in 
praising the waters as far as they possessed the form and quality of water, and also the 
agreement of the members of the inhabitants swimming in the waters, their life sustaining 
and directing their body, and every particular adaptation of substances for the benefit of 
health. For though you find fault with the waters as turbid and muddy, still, in allowing 
them the quality of producing and maintaining their living inhabitants, you imply that there 
was some kind of bodily form, and similarity of parts, giving unity and congruity of character; 
otherwise there could be no body at all: and, as a rational being, you must see that all these 
things are to be praised. And however great you make the ferocity of these inhabitants, and 
their massacrings and devastations in their assaults, you still leave them the regular limits 
of form, by which the members of each body are made to agree together, and their beneficial 
adaptations, and the regulating power of the living principle binding together the parts of 
the body in a friendly and harmonious union. And if all these are regarded with common 
sense it will be seen that they are more to be commended than the faults are to be con- 
demned. I join with you in condemning the frightfulness of the winds; join with me in 
praising their nature, as giving breath and nourishment, and their material form in its con- 
tinuousness and diffusion by the connection of its parts: for by these things these winds 
had the power of producing and nourishing, and sustaining in vigor these inhabitants you 
speak of; and also in these inhabitants — besides the other things which have already been 


246 



The Number of Good Things in Those Natures Which Manichceus Places in the... 


commended in all animated creatures — this particular power of going quickly and easily 
whence and whither they please, and the harmonious stroke of their wings in flight, and 
their regular motion. I join with you in condemning the destructiveness of fire; join with 
me in commending the productiveness of this fire, and the growth of these productions, 
and the adaptation of the fire to the beings produced, so that they had coherence, and came 
to perfection in measure and shape, and could live and have their abode there: for you see 
that all these things deserve admiration and praise, not only in the fire which is thus habitable, 
but in the inhabitants too. I join with you in condemning the denseness of smoke, and the 
savage character of the prince who, as you say, abode in it; join with me in praising the 
similarity of all the parts in this very smoke, by which it preserves the harmony and propor- 
tion of its parts among themselves, according to its own nature, and has an unity which 
makes it what it is: for no one can calmly reflect on these things without wonder and praise. 
Besides, even to the smoke you give the power and energy of production, for you say that 
princes inhabited it; so that in that region the smoke is productive, which never happens 
here, and, moreover, affords a wholesome dwelling place to its inhabitants. 


247 



The Same Subject Continued. 


Chapter 31. — The Same Subject Continued. 

34. And even in the prince of smoke himself, instead of mentioning only his ferocity 
as a bad quality, ought you not to have taken notice of the other things in his nature which 
you must allow to be commendable? For he had a soul and a body; the soul life-giving, and 
the body endowed with life. Since the soul governed and the body obeyed, the soul took 
the lead and the body followed; the soul gave consistency, the body was not dissolved; the 
soul gave harmonious motion, and the body was constructed of a well-proportioned 
framework of members. In this single prince are you not induced to express approval of 
the orderly peace or the peaceful order? And what applies to one applies to all the rest. You 
say he was fierce and cruel to others. This is not what I commend, but the other important 
things which you will not take notice of. Those things, when perceived and considered, — after 
advice by any one who has without consideration put faith in Manichaeus, — lead him to a 
clear conviction that, in speaking of those natures, he speaks of things good in a sense, not 
perfect and un-created, like God the one Trinity, nor of the higher rank of created things, 
like the holy angels and the ever-blessed powers; but of the lowest class, and ranked according 
to the small measure of their endowments. These things are thought to be blameworthy by 
the uninstructed when they compare them with higher things; and in view of their want of 
some good, the good they have gets the name of evil, because it is defective. My reason also 
for thus discussing the natures enumerated by Manichaeus is that the things named are 
things familiar to us in this world. We are familiar with darkness, waters, winds, fire, smoke; 
we are familiar, too, with animals, creeping, swimming, flying; with quadrupeds and biped. 
With the exception of darkness (which, as I have said already, is nothing but the absence of 
light, and the perception of it is only the absence of sight, as the perception of silence is the 
absence of hearing; not that darkness is anything, but that light is not, as neither that silence 
is anything, but that sound is not), all the other things are natural qualities and are familiar 
to all; and the form of those natures, which is commendable and good as far as it exists, no 

9S4 

wise man attributes to any other author than God, the author of all good things. 


284 [This portion of the argument is conducted with great adroitness. Augustin takes the inhabitants of the 
region of darkness, as Mani describes them, and proves that they possess so much of good that they can have 
no other author than God. — A.H.N.] 


248 



Manichceus Got the Arrangement of His Fanciful Notions from Visible Obje... 


Chapter 32. — Manichaeus Got the Arrangement of His Fanciful Notions from Visible 
Objects. 

35. For in giving to these natures which he has learned from visible things, an arrange 
ment according to his fanciful ideas, to represent the race of darkness, Manichaeus is clearly 
in error. First of all, he makes darkness productive, which is impossible. But, he replies, 
this darkness was unlike what you are familiar with. How, then, can you make me understand 
about it? After so many promises to give knowledge, will you force me to take your word 
for it? Suppose I believe you, this at least is certain, that if the darkness had no form, as 
darkness usually has not, it could produce nothing; if it had form, it was better than ordinary 
darkness: whereas, when you call it different from the ordinary kind, you wish us to believe 
that it is worse. You might as well say that silence, which is the same to the ear as darkness 
to the eyes, produced some deaf or dumb animals in that region; and then, in reply to the 
objection that silence is not a nature, you might say that it was different silence from ordinary 
silence; in a word, you might say what you pleased to those whom you have once misled 
into believing you. No doubt, the obvious facts relating to the origin of animal life led 
Manichaeus to say that serpents were produced in darkness. However, there are serpents 
which have such sharp sight, and such pleasure in light, that they seem to give evidence of 
the most weighty kind against this idea. Then the idea of swimming things in the water 
might easily be got here, and applied to the fanciful objects in that region; and so of flying 
things in the winds, for the motion of the lower air in this world, where birds fly, is called 
wind. Where he got the idea of the quadrupeds in fire, no one can tell. Still he said this 
deliberately, though without sufficient thought, and from great misconception. The reason 
usually given is, that quadrupeds are voracious and salacious. But many men surpass any 
quadruped in voracity, though they are bipeds, and are called children of the smoke, and 
not of fire. Geese, too, are as voracious as any animal; and though he might place them in 
fire as bipeds, or in the water because they love to swim, or in the winds because they have 
wings and sometimes fly, they certainly have nothing to do with fire in this classification. 
As regards salaciousness, I suppose he was thinking of neighing horses, which sometimes 
bite through the bridle and rush at the mares; and writing hastily, with this in his mind, he 
forgot the common sparrow, in comparison of which the hottest stallion is cold. The reason 
they give for assigning bipeds to the smoke is, that bipeds are conceited and proud, for men 
are derived from this class; and the idea, which is a plausible one, is that smoke resembles 
proud people in rising up into the air, round and swelling. This idea might warrant a figur- 
ative description of proud men, or an allegorical expression or explanation, but not the belief 
that bipeds are born in smoke and of smoke. They might with equal reason be said to be 
born in dust, for it often rises up to the heaven with a similar circling and lofty motion; or 
in the clouds, for they are often drawn up from the earth in such a way, that those looking 
from a distance are uncertain whether they are clouds or smoke. Once more, why, in the 


249 



Manichceus Got the Arrangement of His Fanciful Notions from Visible Obje... 


case of the waters and the winds, does he suit the inhabitants to the character of the place, 
as we see swimming things in water, and flying things in the wind; whereas, in the face of 
fire and smoke, this bold liar is not ashamed to assign to these places the most unlikely in- 
habitants? For fire burns quadrupeds, and consumes them, and smoke suffocates and kills 
bipeds. At least he must acknowledge that he has made these natures better in the race of 
darkness than they are here, though he wishes us to think everything to be worse. For, ac- 
cording to this, the fire there produced and nourished quadrupeds, and gave them a lodging 
not only harmless, but most convenient. The smoke, too, provided room for the offspring 
of its own benign bosom, and cherished them up to the rank of prince. Thus we see that 
these lies, which have added to the number of heretics, arose from the perception by carnal 
sense, only without care or discernment, of visible objects in this world, and when thus 
conceived, were brought forth by fancy, and then presumptuously written and published. 


250 



Every Nature, as Nature, is Good. 


Chapter 33. — Every Nature, as Nature, is Good. 

36. But the consideration we wish most to urge is the truth of the Catholic doctrine, if 
they can understand it, that God is the author of all natures. I urged this before when I said, 
I join with you in your condemnation of destructiveness, of blindness, of dense muddiness, 
of terrific violence, of perishableness, of the ferocity of the princes, and so on; join with me 
in commending form, classification, arrangement, harmony, unity of structure, symmetry 
and correspondence of members, provision for vital breath and nourishment, wholesome 
adaptation, regulation and control by the mind, and the subjection of the bodies, and the 
assimilation and agreement of parts in the natures, both those inhabiting and those inhabited, 
and all the other things of the same kind. From this, if they would only think honestly, they 
would understand that it implies a mixture of good and evil, even in the region where they 
suppose evil to be alone and in perfection: so that if the evils mentioned were taken away, 
the good things will remain, without anything to detract from the commendation given to 
them; whereas, if the good things are taken away, no nature is left. From this every one sees, 
who can see, that every nature, as far as it is nature, is good; since in one and the same thing 
in which I found something to praise, and he found something to blame, if the good things 
are taken away, no nature will remain; but if the disagreeable things are taken away, the 
nature will remain unimpaired. Take from waters their thickness and muddiness, and pure 
clear water remains; take from them the consistence of their parts, and no water will be left. 
If then, after the evil is removed, the nature remains in a purer state, and does not remain 
at all when the good is taken away, it must be the good which makes the nature of the thing 
in which it is, while the evil is not nature, but contrary to nature. Take from the winds their 
terribleness and excessive force, with which you find fault, you can conceive of winds as 
gentle and mild; take from them the similarity of their parts which gives them continuity 
of substance, and the unity essential to material existence, and no nature remains to be 
conceived of. It would be tedious to go through all the cases; but all who consider the subject 
free from party spirit must see that in their list of natures the disagreeable things mentioned 
are additions to the nature; and when they are removed, the natures remain better than be- 
fore. This shows that the natures, as far as they are natures, are good; for when you take 
from them the good instead of the evil, no natures remain. And attend, you who wish to 
arrive at a correct judgment, to what is said of the fierce prince himself. If you take away 
his ferocity, see how many excellent things will remain; his material frame, the symmetry 
of the members on one side with those on the other, the unity of his form, the settled con- 
tinuity of his parts, the orderly adjustment of the mind as ruling and animating, and the 
body as subject and animated. The removal of these things, and of others I may have 
omitted to mention, will leave no nature remaining. 


251 



Nature Cannot Be Without Some Good. The Manichceans Dwell Upon the Evil... 


Chapter 34. — Nature Cannot Be Without Some Good. The Manichseans Dwell 

Upon the Evils. 

37. But perhaps you will say that these evils cannot be removed from the natures, and 
must therefore be considered natural. The question at present is not what can be taken 
away, and what cannot; but it certainly helps to a clear perception that these natures, as far 
as they are natures, are good, when we see that the good things can be thought of without 
these evil things, while without these good things no nature can be conceived of. I can 
conceive of waters without muddy commotion; but without settled continuity of parts no 
material form is an object of thought or of sensation in any way. Therefore even these 
muddy waters could not exist without the good which was the condition of their material 
existence. As to the reply that these evil things cannot be taken from such natures, I rejoin 
that neither can the good things be taken away. Why, then, should you call these things 
natural evils, on account of the evil things which you suppose cannot be taken away, and 
yet refuse to call them natural good things, on account of the good things which, as has been 
proved, cannot be taken away? 

38. You may next ask, as you usually do for a last resource, whence come these evils 
which I have said that I too disapprove of. I shall perhaps tell you, if you first tell me whence 
are those good things which you too are obliged to commend, if you would not be altogether 
unreasonable. But why should I ask this, when we both acknowledge that all good things 
whatever, and how great soever, are from the one God, who is supremely good? You must 
therefore yourselves oppose Manichaeus who has placed all these important good things 
which we have mentioned and justly commended, — the continuity and agreement of parts 
in each nature, the health and vigor of the animated creatures, and the other things which 
it would be wearisome to repeat, — (in an imaginary region of darkness, so as to separate 
them altogether from that God whom he allows to be the author of all good things.) He lost 
sight of those good things, while taking notice only of what was disagreeable; as if one, 
frightened by a lion’s roaring, and seeing him dragging away and tearing the bodies of cattle 
or human beings which he had seized, should from childish pusillanimity be so overpowered 
with fear as to see nothing but the cruelty and ferocity of the lion; and overlooking or dis- 
regarding all the other qualities, should exclaim against the nature of this animal as not only 
evil, but a great evil, his fear adding to his vehemence. But were he to see a tame lion, with 
its ferocity subdued, especially if he had never been frightened by a lion, he would have 
leisure, in the absence of danger and terror, to observe and admire the beauty of the animal. 
My only remark on this is one closely connected with our subject: that any nature may be 
in some case disagreeable, so as to excite hatred towards the whole nature; though it is clear 
that the form of a real living beast, even when it excites terror in the woods, is far better than 
that of the artificial imitation which is commended in a painting on the wall. We must not 
then be misled into this error by Manichaeus, or be hindered from observing the forms of 


252 



Nature Cannot Be Without Some Good. The Manichceans Dwell Upon the Evil... 


the natures, by his finding fault with some things in them in such a way as to make us dis- 
approve of them entirely, when it is impossible to show that they deserve entire disapproval. 
And when our minds are thus composed and prepared to form a just judgment, we may 
ask whence come those evils which I have said that I condemn. It will be easier to see this 
if we class them all under one name. 


253 



Evil Alone is Corruption. Corruption is Not Nature, But Contrary to Nature. . . . 


Chapter 35. — Evil Alone is Corruption. Corruption is Not Nature, But Contrary to 

Nature. Corruption Implies Previous Good. 

39. For who can doubt that the whole of that which is called evil is nothing else than 
corruption? Different evils may, indeed, be called by different names; but that which is the 
evil of all things in which any evil is perceptible is corruption. So the corruption of an 
educated mind is ignorance; the corruption of a prudent mind is imprudence; the corruption 
of a just mind, injustice; the corruption of a brave mind, cowardice; the corruption of a 
calm, peaceful mind, cupidity, fear, sorrow, pride. Again, in a living body, the corruption 
of health is pain and disease; the corruption of strength is exhaustion; the corruption of rest 
is toil. Again, in any corporeal thing, the corruption of beauty is ugliness; the corruption 
of straightness is crookedness; the corruption of order is confusion; the corruption of entire- 
ness is disseverance, or fracture, or diminution. It would be long and laborious to mention 
by name all the corruptions of the things here mentioned, and of countless other things; for 
in many cases the words may apply to the mind as well as to the body, and in innumerable 
cases the corruption has a distinct name of its own. But enough has been said to show that 
corruption does harm only as displacing the natural condition; and so, that corruption is 
not nature, but against nature. And if corruption is the only evil to be found anywhere, and 
if corruption is not nature, no nature is evil. 

40. But if, perchance, you cannot follow this, consider again, that whatever is corrupted 
is deprived of some good: for if it were not corrupted, it would be incorrupt; or if it could 
not in any way be corrupted, it would be incorruptible. Now, if corruption is an evil, both 
incorruption and incorruptibility must be good things. We are not, however, speaking at 
present of incorruptible nature, but of things which admit of corruption, and which, while 
not corrupted, maybe called incorrupt, but not incorruptible. That alone can be called in- 
corruptible which not only is not corrupted, but also cannot in any part be corrupted. 
Whatever things, then, being incorrupt, but liable to corruption, begin to be corrupted, are 
deprived of the good which they had as incorrupt. Nor is this a slight good, for corruption 
is a great evil. And the continued increase of corruption implies the continued presence of 
good, of which they may be deprived. Accordingly, the natures supposed to exist in the region 
of darkness must have been either corruptible or incorruptible. If they were incorruptible, 
they were in possession of a good than which nothing is higher. If they were corruptible, 
they were either corrupted or not corrupted. If they were not corrupted, they were incorrupt, 
to say which of anything is to give it great praise. If they were corrupted, they were deprived 
of this great good of incorruption; but the deprivation implies the previous possession of 
the good they are deprived of; and if they possessed this good, they were not the perfection 
of evil, and consequently all the Manichaean story is a falsehood. 


254 



The Source of Evil or of Corruption of Good. 


Chapter 36. — The Source of Evil or of Corruption of Good. 

41 . After thus inquiring what evil is, and learning that it is not nature, but against nature, 
we must next inquire whence it is. If Manichaeus had done this, he might have escaped 
falling into the snare of these serious errors. Out of time and out of order, he began with 
inquiring into the origin of evil, without first asking what evil was; and so his inquiry led 
him only to the reception of foolish fancies, of which the mind, much fed by the bodily 
senses, with difficulty rids itself. Perhaps, then, some one, desiring no longer argument, but 
delivery from error, will ask, Whence is this corruption which we find to be the common 
evil of good things which are not incorruptible? Such an inquirer will soon find the answer 
if he seeks for truth with great earnestness, and knocks reverently with sustained assiduity. 
For while man can use words as a kind of sign for the expression of his thoughts, teaching 
is the work of the incorruptible Truth itself, who is the one true, the one internal Teacher. 
He became external also, that He might recall us from the external to the internal; and taking 
on Himself the form of a servant, that He might bring down His height to the knowledge 
of those rising up to Him, He condescended to appear in lowliness to the low. In His name 
let us ask, and through Him let us seek mercy of the Father while making this inquiry. For 
to answer in a word the question, Whence is corruption? it is hence, because these natures 
that are capable of corruption were not begotten by God, but made by Him out of nothing; 
and as we already proved that those natures are good, no one can say with propriety that 
they were not good as made by God. If it is said that God made them perfectly good, it must 
be remembered that the only perfect good is God Himself, the maker of those good things. 


255 



God Alone Perfectly Good. 


Chapter 37. — God Alone Perfectly Good. 

42. What harm, you ask, would follow if those things too were perfectly good? Still, 
should any one, who admits and believes the perfect goodness of God the Father, inquire 
what source we should reverently assign to any other perfectly good thing, supposing it to 
exist, our only correct reply would be, that it is of God the Father, who is perfectly good. 
And we must bear in mind that what is of Him is born of Him, and not made by Him out 
of nothing, and that it is therefore perfectly, that is, incorruptibly, good like God Himself. 
So we see that it is unreasonable to require that things made out of nothing should be as 
perfectly good as He who was begotten of God Himself, and who is one as God is one, oth- 
erwise God would have begotten something unlike Himself. Hence it shows ignorance and 
impiety to seek for brethren for this only-begotten Son through whom all good things were 
made by the Father out of nothing, except in this, that He condescended to appear as man. 
Accordingly in Scripture He is called both only-begotten and first-begotten; only-begotten 
of the Father, and first-begotten from the dead. "And we beheld," says John, "His glory, the 
glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." And Paul says, "that 
He might be the first-born among many brethren." 

43. But should we say, These things made out of nothing are not good things, but only 
God’s nature is good, we shall be unjust to good things of great value. And there is impiety 
in calling it a defect in anything not to be what God is, and in denying a thing to be good 
because it is inferior to God. Pray submit then, thou nature of the rational soul, to be 
somewhat less than God, but only so far less, that after Him nothing else is above thee. 
Submit, I say, and yield to Him, lest He drive thee still lower into depths where the punish- 
ment inflicted will continually detract more and more from the good which thou hast. Thou 
exaltest thyself against God, if thou art indignant at His preceding thee; and thou art very 
contumacious in thy thoughts of Him, if thou dost not rejoice unspeakably in the possession 
of this good, that He alone is above thee. This being settled as certain, thou art not to say, 
God should have made me the only nature: there should be no good thing after me. It could 
not be that the next good thing to God should be the last. And in this is seen most clearly 
how great dignity God conferred on thee, that He who in the order of nature alone rules 
over thee, made other good things for thee to rule over. Nor be surprised that they are not 
now in all respects subject to thee, and that sometimes they pain thee; for thy Lord has 
greater authority over the things subject to thee than thou hast, as a master over the servants 
of his servants. What wonder, then, if, when thou sinnest, that is, disobeyest thy Lord, the 
things thou before ruledst over are made instrumental in thy punishment? For what is so 
just, or what is more just than God? For this befell human nature in Adam, of whom this 


285 John i. 14. 

286 Rom. viii. 29. 


256 


God Alone Perfectly Good. 


is not the place to speak. Suffice it to say, the righteous Ruler acts in character both in just 
rewards and in just punishments, in the happiness of those who live rightly, and in the 
penalty inflicted on sinners. Nor yet art thou left without mercy, since by an appointed 
distribution of things and times thou art called to return. Thus the righteous control of the 
supreme Creator extends even to earthly good things, which are corrupted and restored, 
that thou mightest have consolations mingled with punishments; that thou mightest both 
praise God when delighted by the order of good things, and mightest take refuge in Him 
when tried by experience of evils. So, as far as earthly things are subject to thee, they teach 
thee that thou art their ruler; as far as they distress thee, they teach thee to be subject to thy 
Lord. 


287 [Augustin still addresses himself to the "nature of the rational soul." — A.H.N.] 


257 



Nature Made by God; Corruption Comes from Nothing. 


Chapter 38. — Nature Made by God; Corruption Comes from Nothing. 

44. In this way, though corruption is an evil, and though it comes not from the Author 
of natures, but from their being made out of nothing, still, in God’s government and control 
over all that He has made, even corruption is so ordered that it hurts only the lowest natures, 
for the punishment of the condemned, and for the trial and instruction of the returning, 
that they may keep near to the incorruptible God, and remain incorrupt, which is our only 
good; as is said by the prophet, "But it is good for me that I keep near to God." And you 
must not say, God did not make corruptible natures: for, as far as they are natures, God 
made them; but as far as they are corruptible, God did not make them: for corruption cannot 
come from Him who alone is incorruptible. If you can receive this, give thanks to God; if 
you cannot, be quiet and do not condemn what you do not yet understand, but humbly wait 
on Him who is the light of the mind that thou mayest know. For in the expression "corrupt- 
ible nature" there are two words, and not one only. So, in the expression, God made out of 
nothing, "God" and "nothing" are two separate words. Render therefore to each of these 
words that which belongs to each, so that the word "nature" may go with the word "God, "and 
the word "corruptible" with the word "nothing." And yet even the corruptions, though they 
have not their origin from God, are to be overruled by Him in accordance with the order 
of inanimate things and the deserts of His intelligent creatures. Thus we say rightly that 
reward and punishment are both from God. For God’s not making corruption is consistent 
with His giving over to corruption the man who deserves to be corrupted, that is, who has 
begun to corrupt himself by sinning, that he who has wilfully yielded to the allurements of 
corruption may, against his will, suffer its pains. 


288 Ps. lxxiii. 28. 


258 


In What Sense Evils are from God. 


Chapter 39. — In What Sense Evils are from God. 

ion 

45. Not only is it written in the Old Testament, "I make good, and create evil;" but 
more clearly in the New Testament, where the Lord says, "Fear not them which kill the body, 
and have no more that they can do; but fear him who, after he has killed the body, has power 
to cast the soul into hell." 290 And that to voluntary corruption penal corruption is added 
in the divine judgment, is plainly declared by the Apostle Paul, when he says, "The temple 
of God is holy, which temple ye are; whoever corrupts the temple of God, him will God 
corrupt." If this had been said in the Old Law, how vehemently would the Manichaeans 
have denounced it as making God a corrupter! And from fear of the word, many Latin 
translators make it, "him shall God destroy," instead of corrupt, avoiding the offensive word 
without any change of meaning. Although these would inveigh against any passage in the 
Old Law or the prophets if God was called in it a destroyer. But the Greek original here 
shows that corrupt is the true word; for it is written distinctly, "Whoever corrupts the temple 
of God, him will God corrupt." If the Manichaeans are asked to explain the words, they will 
say, to escape making God a corrupter, that corrupt here means to give over to corruption, 
or some such explanation. Did they read the Old Law in this spirit, they would both find 
many admirable things in it; and instead of spitefully attacking passages which they did not 
understand, they would reverently postpone the inquiry. 


289 

290 


291 


Ps. xlv. 7. 

Matt. x. 28, and Luke xii. 4. 
1 Cor. iii. 17. 


259 


Corruption Tends to Non-Existence. 


Chapter 40. — Corruption Tends to Non-Existence. 

46. But if any one does not believe that corruption comes from nothing, let him place 
before himself existence and non-existence — one, as it were, on one side, and the other on 
the other (to speak so as not to outstrip the slow to understand); then let him set something, 
say the body of an animal, between them, and let him ask himself whether, while the body 
is being formed and produced, while its size is increasing, while it gains nourishment, health, 
strength, beauty, stability, it is tending, as regards its duration and permanence, to this side 
or that, to existence or non-existence. He will see without difficulty, that even in the rudi- 
mentary form there is an existence, and that the more the body is established and built up 
in form, and figure and strength, the more does it come to exist, and to tend to the side of 
existence. Then, again, let the body begin to be corrupted; let its whole condition be en- 
feebled, let its vigor languish, its strength decay, its beauty be defaced, its framework be 
sundered, the consistency of its parts give way and go to pieces; and let him ask now where 
the body is tending in this corruption, whether to existence or non-existence: he will not 
surely be so blind or stupid as to doubt how to answer himself, or as not to see that, in pro- 
portion as anything is corrupted, in that proportion it approaches decease. But whatever 
tends to decease tends to non-existence. Since, then, we must believe that God exists im- 
mutably and incorruptibly, while what is called nothing is clearly altogether nonexistent; 
and since, after setting before yourself existence and non-existence, you have observed that 
the more a visible object increases the more it tends towards existence, while the more it is 
corrupted the more it tends towards non-existence, why are you at a loss to tell regarding 
any nature what in it is from God, and what from nothing; seeing that visible form is natural, 
and corruption against nature? The increase of form leads to existence, and we acknowledge 
God as supreme existence; the increase of corruption leads to non-existence, and we know 
that what is non-existent is nothing. Why then, I say, are you at a loss to tell regarding a 
corruptible nature, when you have both the words nature and corruptible, what is from 
God, and what from nothing? And why do you inquire for a nature contrary to God, since, 
if you confess that He is the supreme existence, it follows that non-existence is contrary to 
Him? 292 



292 [We have already encountered in the treatise Concerning two Souls, substantially the same course of ar- 
gumentation here pursued. The doctrine of the negativity of evil may be said to have been fundamental with 
Augustin, and he uses it very effectually against Manichaean dualism. — A.H.N.] 


260 



Corruption is by God’s Permission, and Comes from Us. 


Chapter 41. — Corruption is by God’s Permission, and Comes from Us. 

47. You ask, Why does corruption take from nature what God has given to it? It takes 
nothing but where God permits; and He permits in righteous and well-ordered judgment, 
according to the degrees of non-intelligent and the deserts of intelligent creatures. The 
word uttered passes away as an object of sense, and perishes in silence; and yet the coming 
and going of these passing words make our speech, and the regular intervals of silence give 
pleasing and appropriate distinction; and so it is with temporal natures which have this 
lowest form of beauty, that transition gives them being, and the death of what they give 
birth to gives them individuality. And if our sense and memory could rightly take in the 
order and proportions of this beauty, it would so please us, that we should not dare to give 
the name of corruptions to those imperfections which give rise to the distinction. And when 
distress comes to us through their peculiar beauty, by the loss of beloved temporal things 
passing away, we both pay the penalty of our sins, and are exhorted to set our affection on 
eternal things. 


261 



Exhortation to the Chief Good. 


Chapter 42. — Exhortation to the Chief Good. 

48. Let us, then, not seek in this beauty for what has not been given to it (and from not 
having what we seek for, this is the lowest form of beauty); and in that which has been given 
to it, let us praise God, because He has bestowed this great good of visible form even on the 
lowest degree of beauty. And let us not cleave as lovers to this beauty, but as praisers of God 
let us rise above it; and from this superior position let us pronounce judgment on it, instead 
of so being bound up in it as to be judged along with it. And let us hasten on to that good 
which has no motion in space or advancement in time, from which all natures in space and 
time receive their sensible being and their form. To see this good let us purify our heart by 
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God." For the eyes needed in order to see this good are not those with which we see the 
light spread through space, which has part in one place and part in another, instead of being 
ah in every place. The sight and the discernment we are to purify is that by which we see, 
as far as is allowed in this life, what is just, what is pious, what is the beauty of wisdom. He 
who sees these things, values them far above the fullness of all regions in space, and finds 
that the vision of these things requires not the extension of his perception through distances 
in space, but its invigoration by an immaterial influence. 294 


293 Matt. v. 8. 

294 [The Neo-Platonic quality of this section cannot escape the attention of the philosophical student. — A.H.N.] 

262 


Conclusion. 


Chapter 43. — Conclusion. 

49. And as this vision is greatly hindered by those fancies which are originated by the 
carnal sense, and are retained and modified by the imagination, let us abhor this heresy 
which has been led by faith in its fancies to represent the divine substance as extended and 
diffused through space, even through infinite space, and to cut short one side so as to make 
room for evil, — not being able to perceive that evil is not nature, but against nature; and to 
beautify this very evil with such visible appearance, and forms, and consistency of parts 
prevailing in its several natures, not being able to conceive of any nature without those good 
things, that the evils found fault with in it are buried under a countless abundance of good 
things. 

Here let us close this part of the treatise. The other absurdities of Manichaeus will be 

one 

exposed in what follows, by the permission and help of God. 


295 Vide Preface. 


263 



Reply to Faustus the Manichcean. 


ST. AUGUSTIN: 

REPLY TO 



FAUSTUS THE MANICHTEAN, 

[CONTRA FAUSTUM MANICHFEUM], 

A.D. 400. 


TRANSLATED BY 

REV. RICHARD STOTHERT, M.A., 

BOMBAY 


264 



Preface. 


Reply to Faustus the Manichaean. 

[Contra Faustum Manichseum.] a.d. 400. 



Written about the year 400. [Faustus was undoubtedly the acutest, most determined 
and most unscrupulous opponent of orthodox Christianity in the age of Augustin. The 
occasion of Augustin’s great writing against him was the publication of Faustus’ attack on 
the Old Testament Scriptures, and on the New Testament so far as it was at variance with 
Manichaean error. Faustus seems to have followed in the footsteps of Adimantus, against 
whom Augustin had written some years before, but to have gone considerably beyond 
Adimantus in the recklessness of his statements. The incarnation of Christ, involving his 
birth from a woman, is one of the main points of attack. He makes the variations in the 
genealogical records of the Gospels a ground for rejecting the whole as spurious. He supposed 
the Gospels, in their present form, to be not the works of the Apostles, but rather of later 
Judaizing falsifiers. The entire Old Testament system he treats with the utmost contempt, 
blaspheming the Patriarchs, Moses, the Prophets, etc., on the ground of their private lives 
and their teachings. Most of the objections to the morality of the Old Testament that are 
now current were already familiarly used in the time of Augustin. Augustin’s answers are 
only partially satisfactory, owing to his imperfect view of the relation of the old dispensation 
to the new; but in the age in which they were written they were doubtless very effective. 
The writing is interesting from the point of view of Biblical criticism, as well as from that 
of polemics against Manichaeism. — A.H.N.] 


265 



Who Faustus was. Faustus’s object in writing the polemical treatise that... 


Book I. 

Who Faustus was. Faustus’s object in writing the polemical treatise that forms the basis of 

Augustin’s reply. Augustin’s remarks thereon. 

1. Faustus was an African by race, a citizen of Mileum; he was eloquent and clever, but 
had adopted the shocking tenets of the Manichaean heresy. He is mentioned in my Confes- 
sions, where there is an account of my acquaintance with him. This man published a 
certain volume against the true Christian faith and the Catholic truth. A copy reached us, 
and was read by the brethren, who called for an answer from me, as part of the service of 
love which I owe to them. Now, therefore, in the name and with the help of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ, I undertake the task, that all my readers may know that acuteness of 
mind and elegance of style are of no use to a man unless the Lord directs his steps. In 
the mysterious equity of divine mercy, God often bestows His help on the slow and the 
feeble; while from the want of this help, the most acute and eloquent run into error only 
with greater rapidity and willfulness. I will give the opinions of Faustus as if stated by 
himself, and mine as if in reply to him. 

2. Faustus said: As the learned Adimantus, the only teacher since the sainted Manichaeus 
deserving of our attention, has plentifully exposed and thoroughly refuted the errors of 
Judaism and of semi-Christianity, I think it not amiss that you should be supplied in writing 
with brief and pointed replies to the captious objections of our adversaries, that when, like 
children of the wily serpent, they try to bewilder you with their quibbles, you maybe prepared 
to give intelligent answers. In this way they will be kept to the subj ect, instead of wandering 
from one thing to another. And I have placed our opinions and those of our opponent over 
against one another, as plainly and briefly as possible, so as not to perplex the reader with 
a long and intricate discourse. 

3. Augustin replies: You warn against semi-Christians, which you say we are; but we 
warn against pseudo- Christians, which we have shown you to be. Semi-Christianity may 
be imperfect without being false. So, then, if the faith of those whom you try to mislead is 
imperfect, would it not be better to supply what is lacking than to rob them of what they 
have? It was to imperfect Christians that the apostle wrote, "joying and beholding your 
conversation," and "the deficiency in your faith in Christ." 298 The apostle had in view a 
spiritual structure, as he says elsewhere, "Ye are God’s building;" 299 and in this structure he 
found both a reason for joy and a reason for exertion. He rejoiced to see part already finished; 


296 Confessions , v. 3, 6. 

297 Ps. xxxvii. 23. 

298 Col. ii. 5; cf. 1 Thess. iii. 10. 
1 Cor. iii. 9. 


299 


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Who Faustus was. Faustus’s object in writing the polemical treatise that... 


and the necessity of bringing the edifice to perfection called for exertion. Imperfect Chris- 
tians as we are, you pursue us with the desire to pervert what you call our semi- Christianity 
by false doctrine; while even those who are so deficient in faith as to be unable to reply to 
all your sophisms, are wise enough at least to know that they must not have anything at all 
to do with you. You look for semi-Christians to deceive: we wish to prove you pseudo- 
Christians, that Christians may learn something from your refutation, and that the less ad- 
vanced may learn to avoid you. Do you call us children of the serpent? You have surely 
forgotten how often you have found fault with the prohibition in Paradise, and have praised 
the serpent for opening Adam’s eyes. You have the better claim to the title which you give 
us. The serpent owns you as well when you blame him as when you praise him. 


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Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical. . . 


Book II. 

Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical tables on various 
grounds which Augustin seeks to set aside. 

1. Faustus said: Do I believe the gospel? Certainly. Do I therefore believe that Christ 
was born? Certainly not. It does not follow that because I believe the gospel, as I do, I must 
therefore believe that Christ was born. This I do not believe; because Christ does not say 
that He was born of men, and the gospel, both in name and in fact, begins with Christ’s 
preaching. As for the genealogy, the author himself does not venture to call it the gospel. 
For what did he write? "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ the Son of David." 300 
The book of the generation is not the book of the gospel. It is more like a birth-register, the 
star confirming the event. Mark, on the other hand, who recorded the preaching of the Son 
of God, without any genealogy, begins most suitably with the words, "The gospel of Jesus 
Christ the Son of God." It is plain that the genealogy is not the gospel. Matthew himself 
says, that after John was put in prison, Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom; so 
that what is mentioned before this is the genealogy, and not the gospel. Why did not Matthew 
begin with, "The gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God," but because he thought it sinful to 
call the genealogy the gospel? Understand, then, what you have hitherto overlooked — the 
distinction between the genealogy and the gospel. Do I then admit the truth of the gospel? 
Yes; understanding by the gospel the preaching of Christ. I have plenty to say about the 
generations too, if you wish. But you seem to me now to wish to know not whether I accept 
the gospel, but whether I accept the generations. 

2. Augustin replied: Well, in answer to your own questions, you tell us first that you 
believe the gospel, and next, that you do not believe in the birth of Christ; and your reason 

is, that the birth of Christ is not in the gospel. What, then, will you answer the apostle when 
he says, "Remember that Christ Jesus rose from the dead, of the seed of David, according 

on i 

to my gospel?" You surely are ignorant, or pretend to be ignorant, what the gospel is. 
You use the word, not as the apostle teaches, but as suits your own errors. What the apostles 
call the gospel you depart from; for you do not believe that Christ was of the seed of David. 
This was Paul’s gospel; and it was also the gospel of the other apostles, and of all faithful 
stewards of so great a mystery. For Paul says elsewhere, "Whether, therefore, I or they, so 

onn 

we preach, and so ye believed." They did not all write the gospel, but they all preached 

it. The name evangelist is properly given to the narrators of the birth, the actions, the words, 
the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word gospel means good news, and might be 


300 Matt. i. 1. 

301 2 Tim. ii. 8. 

302 lCor.xv.il. 


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Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical. . . 


used of any good news, but is properly applied to the narrative of the Saviour. If, then, you 
teach something different, you must have departed from the gospel. Assuredly those babes 
whom you despise as semi-Christians will oppose you, when they hear their mother Charity 
declaring by the mouth of the apostle, "If any one preach another gospel than that which 
we have preached to you, let him be accursed." Since, then, Paul, according to his gospel, 
preached that Christ was of the seed of David, and you deny this and preach something else, 
may you be accursed! And what can you mean by saying that Christ never declares Himself 
to have been born of men, when on every occasion He calls Himself the Son of man? 

3. You learned men, forsooth, dress up for our benefit some wonderful First Man, who 
came down from the race of light to war with the race of darkness, armed with his waters 
against the waters of the enemy, and with his fire against their fire, and with his winds against 
their winds. And why not with his smoke against their smoke, and with his darkness against 
their darkness? According to you, he was armed against smoke with air, and against darkness 
with light. So it appears that smoke and darkness are bad, since they could not belong to 
his goodness. The other three, again — water, wind, and fire — are good. How, then, could 
these belong to the evil of the enemy? You reply that the water of the race of darkness was 
evil, while that which the First Man brought was good; and so, too, his good wind and fire 
fought against the evil wind and fire of the adversary. But why could he not bring good 
smoke against evil smoke? Your falsehoods seem to vanish in smoke. Well, your First Man 
warred against an opposite nature. And yet only one of the five things he brought was the 
opposite of what the hostile race had. The light was opposed to the darkness, but the four 
others are not opposed to one another. Air is not the opposite of smoke, and still less is 
water the opposite of water, or wind of wind, or fire of fire. 

4. One is shocked at your wild fancies about this First Man changing the elements which 
he brought, that he might conquer his enemies by pleasing them. So you make what you 
call the kingdom of falsehood keep honestly to its own nature, while truth is changeable in 
order to deceive. Jesus Christ, according to you, is the son of this First Man. Truth springs, 
forsooth, from your fiction. You praise this First Man for using changeable and delusive 
forms in the contest. If you, then, speak the truth, you do not imitate him. If you imitate 
him, you deceive as he did. But our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the true and truthful 
Son of God, the true and truthful Son of man, both of which He testifies of Himself, derived 
the eternity of His godhead from true God, and His incarnation from true man. Your First 
Man is not the first man of the apostle. "The first man," he says, "was of the earth, earthy; 
the second man is from heaven, heavenly. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; 
as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of the 
earthy, let us also bear the image of the heavenly." 304 The first man of the earth, earthy, is 


303 Gal. i. 8, 9. 

304 1 Cor. xv. 47-49. 


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Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical. . . 


Adam, who was made of dust. The second man from heaven, heavenly, is the Lord Jesus 
Christ; for, being the Son of God, He became flesh that He might be a man outwardly, while 
He remained God within; that He might be both the true Son of God, by whom we were 
made, and the true Son of man, by whom we are made anew. Why do you conjure up this 
fabulous First Man of yours, and refuse to acknowledge the first man of the apostle? Is this 
not a fulfillment of what the apostle says: "Turning away their ears from the truth, they will 
give heed to fables?" According to Paul, the first man is of the earth, earthy; according 
to Manichaeus, he is not earthy, and is equipped with five elements of some unreal, unintel- 
ligible kind. Paul says: "If any one should have announced to you differently from what we 
have announced let him be accursed." Therefore lest Paul be a liar, let Manichaeus be ac- 
cursed. 

5. Again, you find fault with the star by which the Magi were led to worship the infant 
Christ, which you should be ashamed of doing, when you represent your fabulous Christ, 
the son of your fabulous First Man not as announced by a star, but as bound up in all the 
stars. For you say that he mingled with the principles of darkness in his conflict with the 
race of darkness, that by capturing these principles the world might be made out of the 
mixture. So that, by your profane fancies, Christ is not only mingled with heaven and all 
the stars, but conj oined and compounded with the earth and all its productions, — a Saviour 
no more, but needing to be saved by you, by your eating and disgorging Him. 

This foolish custom of making your disciples bring you food, that your teeth and 
stomach may be the means of relieving Christ, who is bound up in it, is a consequence of 
your profane fancies. You declare that Christ is liberated in this way — not, however, entirely; 
for you hold that some tiny particles of no value still remain in the excrement, to be mixed 
up and compounded again and again in various material forms, and to be released and 
purified at any rate by the fire in which the world will be burned up, if not before. Nay, 
even then, you say, Christ is not entirely liberated; but some extreme particles of His good 
and divine nature, which have been so defiled that they cannot be cleansed, are condemned 
to stay for ever in the horrid mass of darkness. And these people pretend to be offended 
with our saying that a star announced the birth of the Son of God, as if this were placing 
His birth under the influence of a constellation; while they subject Him not to stars only, 


305 2 Tim. iv. 4. 

306 [This mixture of the substance of Primordial Man, with the kingdom of darkness, and the formation of 
stars out of portions thereof, was probably a part of primitive Manichaean teaching. — A.H.N.] 

307 [Compare Book xx. 2, where Faustus states the Manichaean doctrine of the Jesus patabilis. Beausobre, 
Mosheim and Baur agree in thinking that Augustin has not distinguished accurately in these two passages 
between names Christ and Jesus, as used by the Manichaeans. See Baur: Das Manichdische Religionssystem , p. 
72. — A.H.N.] 


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Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical... 


but to such polluting contact with all material things, with the juices of all vegetables, and 
with the decay of all flesh, and with the decomposition of all food, in which He is bound 
up, that the only way of releasing Him, at least one great means, is that men, that is the Elect 
of the Manichaeans, should succeed in digesting their dinner. 

We, too, deny the influence of the stars upon the birth of any man; for we maintain that, 
by the just law of God, the free-will of man, which chooses good or evil, is under no constraint 
of necessity. How much less do we subject to any constellation the incarnation of the 
eternal Creator and Lord of all! When Christ was born after the flesh, the star which the 
Magi saw had no power as governing, but attended as a witness. Instead of assuming control 
over Him, it acknowledged Him by the homage it did. Besides, this star was not one of 
those which from the beginning of the world continue in the course ordained by the Creator. 
Along with the new birth from the Virgin appeared a new star, which served as a guide to 
the Magi who were themselves seeking for Christ; for it went before them till they reached 
the place where they found the Word of God in the form of a child. But what astrologer 
ever thought of making a star leave its course, and come down to the child that is born, as 
they imagine, under it? They think that the stars affect the birth, not that the birth changes 
the course of the stars; so, if the star in the Gospel was one of those heavenly bodies, how 
could it determine Christ’s action, when it was compelled to change its own action at Christ’s 
birth? But if, as is more likely, a star which did not exist before appeared to point out Christ, 
it was the effect of Christ’s birth, and not the cause of it. Christ was not born because the 
star was there; but the star was there because Christ was born. If there was any fate, it was 
in the birth, and not in the star. The word fate is derived from a word which means to speak; 
and since Christ is the Word of God by which all things were spoken before they were, the 
conjunction of stars is not the fate of Christ, but Christ is the fate of the stars. The same 
will that made the heavens took our earthly nature. The same power that ruled the stars 
laid down His life and took it again. 

6. Why, then, should the narrative of the birth not be the gospel, since it conveys such 
good news as heals our malady? Is it because Matthew begins, not like Mark, with the words, 
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ," but, "The book of the generation of Jesus 
Christ?" In this way, John, too, might be said not to have written the gospel, for he has not 
the words, Beginning of the gospel, or Book of the gospel, but, "In the beginning was the 
Word." Perhaps the clever word-maker Faustus will call the introduction in John a Verbid- 
ium, as he called that in Matthew a Genesidium. The wonder is, that you are so impudent 
as to give the name of gospel to your silly stories. What good news is there in telling us that, 
in the conflict against some strange hostile nation, God could protect His own kingdom 
only by sending part of His own nature into the greedy jaws of the former, and to be so de- 
filed, that after all those toils and tortures it cannot all be purged? Is this bad news the gospel? 
Every one who has even a slender knowledge of Greek knows that gospel means good news. 


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Faustus claims to believe the Gospel, yet refuses to accept the genealogical... 


But where is your good news, when your God himself is said to weep as under eclipse till 
the darkness and defilement are removed from his members? And when he ceases to weep, 
it seems he becomes cruel. For what has that part of him which is to be involved in the mass 
done to deserve this condemnation? This part must go on weeping for ever. But no; whoever 
examines this news will not weep because it is bad, but will laugh because it is not true. 


272 



Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists... 


Book III. 

Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists are at variance 
with each other, and that incarnation is unsuitable to deity. Augustin attempts to remove 
the critical and theological difficulties. 

1. Faustus said: Do I believe in the incarnation? For my part, this is the very thing I 
long tried to persuade myself of, that God was born; but the discrepancy in the genealogies 
of Luke and Matthew stumbled me, as I knew not which to follow. For I thought it might 
happen that, from not being omniscient, I might take the true for false, and the false for 
true. So, in despair of settling this dispute, I betook myself to Mark and John, two authorities 
still, and evangelists as much as the others. I approved with good reason of the beginning 
of Mark and John, for they have nothing of David, or Mary, or Joseph. John says, "In the 
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," meaning 
Christ. Mark says, "The gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God," as if correcting Matthew, 
who calls him the Son of David. Perhaps, however, the Jesus of Matthew is a different person 
from the Jesus of Mark. This is my reason for not believing in the birth of Christ. 

Remove this difficulty, if you can, by harmonizing the accounts, and I am ready to yield. 
In any case, however, it is hardly consistent to believe that God, the God of Christians, was 
born from the womb. 

2. Augustin replied: Had you read the Gospel with care, and inquired into those places 
where you found opposition, instead of rashly condemning them, you would have seen that 
the recognition of the authority of the evangelists by so many learned men all over the world, 
in spite of this most obvious discrepancy, proves that there is more in it than appears at first 
sight. Any one can see, as well as you, that the ancestors of Christ in Matthew and Luke are 
different; while Joseph appears in both, at the end in Matthew and at the beginning in Luke. 
Joseph, it is plain, might be called the father of Christ, on account of his being in a certain 
sense the husband of the mother of Christ; and so his name, as the male representative, ap- 
pears at the beginning or end of the genealogies. Any one can see as well as you that Joseph 
has one father in Matthew and another in Luke, and so with the grandfather and with all 
the rest up to David. Did all the able and learned men, not many Latin writers certainly, 
but innumerable Greek, who have examined most attentively the sacred Scriptures, overlook 
this manifest difference? Of course they saw it. No one can help seeing it. But with a due 
regard to the high authority of Scripture, they believed that there was something here which 
would be given to those that ask, and denied to those that snarl; would be found by those 
that seek, and taken away from those that criticise; would be open to those that knock, and 
shut against those that contradict. They asked, sought, and knocked; they received, found, 
and entered in. 


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Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists... 


3. The whole question is how Joseph had two fathers. Supposing this possible, both 
genealogies may be correct. With two fathers, why not two grandfathers, and two great- 
grandfathers, and so on, up to David, who was the father both of Solomon, who is mentioned 
in Matthew’s list, and of Nathan, who occurs in Luke? This is the difficulty with many 
people who think it impossible that two men should have one and the same son, forgetting 
the very obvious fact that a man may be called the son of the person who adopted him as 
well as of the person who begot him. 

Adoption, we know, was familiar to the ancients; for even women adopted the children 
of other women, as Sarah adopted Ishmael, and Leah her handmaid’s son, and Pharaoh’s 
daughter Moses. Jacob, too, adopted his grandsons, the children of Joseph. Moreover, the 
word adoption is of great importance in the system of our faith, as is seen from the 
apostolic writings. For the Apostle Paul, speaking of the advantages of the Jews, says: 
"Whose are the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law; whose 
are the fathers, and of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed 

ino 

for ever." And again: "We ourselves also groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption 
of the sons of God, even the redemption of the body." 309 Again, elsewhere: "But in the 
fullness of time, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that we might 

o 1 n 

receive the adoption of sons." These passages show clearly that adoption is a significant 
symbol. God has an only Son, whom He begot from His own substance, of whom it is said, 

Oil 

"Being in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be equal to God." Us He begot 
not of His own substance, for we belong to the creation which is not begotten, but made; 
but that He might make us the brothers of Christ, He adopted us. That act, then, by which 
God, when we were not born of Him, but created and formed, begot us by His word and 
grace, is called adoption. So John says, "He gave them power to become the sons of God." 

Since, therefore; the practice of adoption is common among our fathers, and in Scripture, 
is there not irrational profanity in the hasty condemnation of the evangelists as false because 
the genealogies are different, as if both could not be true, instead of considering calmly the 
simple fact that frequently in human life one man may have two fathers, one of whose flesh 
he is born, and another of whose will he is afterwards made a son by adoption? If the second 
is not rightly called father, neither are we right in saying, "Our Father which art in heaven," 
to Him of whose substance we were not born, but of whose grace and most merciful will 
we were adopted, according to apostolic doctrine, and truth most sure. For one is to us 


308 Rom. ix. 4, 5. 

309 Rom. viii. 23. 

310 Gal. iv. 4, 5. 

311 Phil. ii. 6. 

312 John i. 12. 


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Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists... 


God, and Lord, and Father: God, for by Him we are created, though of human parents; 
Lord, for we are His subjects; Father, for by His adoption we are born again. Careful students 
of sacred Scripture easily saw, from a little consideration, how, in the different genealogies 
of the two evangelists, Joseph had two fathers, and consequently two lists of ancestors. You 
might have seen this too, if you had not been blinded by the love of contradiction. Other 
things far beyond your understanding have been discovered in the careful investigation of 
all parts of these narratives. The familiar occurrence of one man begetting a son and another 
adopting him, so that one man has two fathers, you might, in spite of Manichaean error, 
have thought of as an explanation, if you had not been reading in a hostile spirit. 

4. But why Matthew begins with Abraham and descends to Joseph, while Luke begins 
with Joseph and ascends, not to Abraham, but to God, who made man, and, by giving a 
commandment, gave him power to become, by believing, a son of God; and why Matthew 
records the generations at the commencement of his book, Luke after the baptism of the 
Saviour by John; and what is the meaning of the number of the generations in Matthew, 
who divides them into three sections of fourteen each, though in the whole sum there appears 
to be one wanting; while in Luke the number of generations recorded after the baptism 
amount to seventy- seven, which number the Lord Himself enjoins in connection with the 
forgiveness of sins, saying, "Not only seven times, but seventy-seven times;" — these things 
you will never understand, unless either you are taught by some Catholic of superior stamp, 
who has studied the sacred Scriptures, and has made all the progress possible, or you 
yourselves turn from your error, and in a Christian spirit ask that you may receive, seek that 
you may find, and knock that it may be opened to you. 

5. Since, then, this double fatherhood of nature and adoption removes the difficulty 
arising from the discrepancy of the genealogies, there is no occasion for Faustus to leave the 
two evangelists and betake himself to the other two, which would be a greater affront to 
those he betook himself to than to those he left. For the sacred writers do not desire to be 
favored at the expense of their brethren. For their joy is in union, and they are one in Christ; 
and if one says one thing, and another another, or one in one way and another in another, 
still they all speak truth, and in no way contradict one another; only let the reader be reverent 
and humble, not in an heretical spirit seeking occasion for strife, but with a believing heart 
desiring edification. Now, in this opinion that the evangelists give the ancestors of different 
fathers, as it is quite possible for a man to have two fathers, there is nothing inconsistent 
with truth. So the evangelists are harmonized, and you, by Faustus’s promise are bound to 
yield at once. 

6. You may perhaps be troubled by that additional remark which he makes: "In any 
case, however, it is hardly consistent to believe that God, the God of Christians, was born 
from the womb." As if we believed that the divine nature came from the womb of a woman. 
Have I not just quoted the testimony of the apostle, speaking of the Jews: "Whose are the 



275 



Faustus objects to the incarnation of God on the ground that the evangelists... 


fathers, and of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for 
ever?" Christ, therefore, our Lord and Saviour, true Son of God in His divinity, and true 
son of man according to the flesh, not as He is God over all was born of a woman, but in 
that feeble nature which He took of us, that in it He might die for us, and heal it in us: not 
as in the form of God, in which He thought it not robbery to be equal to God, was He born 
of a woman, but in the form of a servant, in taking which He emptied Himself. He is 
therefore said to have emptied Himself because He took the form of a servant, not because 
He lost the form of God. For in the unchangeable possession of that nature by which in the 
form of God He is equal to the Father, He took our changeable nature, by which He might 
be born of a virgin. You, while you protest against putting the flesh of Christ in a virgin’s 
womb, place the very divinity of God in the womb not only of human beings, but of dogs 
and swine. You refuse to believe that the flesh of Christ was conceived in the Virgin’s womb, 
in which God was not found nor even changed; while you assert that in all men and beasts, 
in the seed of male and in the womb of female, in all conceptions on land or in water, an 
actual part of God and the divine nature is continually bound, and shut up, and contaminated, 

o 1 o 

never to be wholly set free. 


313 [It cannot be said that Augustin adequately meets the difficulty that Faustus finds in the genealogies of 
our Lord. Cf. Hervey: The Genealogies of Our Lord, and the recent commentaries, such as Meyer’s, Lange’s, 
The International Revision, and especially Broadus on Matthew. — A.H.N.] 


276 



Faustus ’s reasons for rejecting the Old Testament, and Augustin ’s animadversions. . . 


Book IV. 

Faustus’s reasons for rejecting the Old Testament, and Augustin’s animadversions thereon. 

1. Faustus said: Do I believe the Old Testament? If it bequeaths anything to me, I believe 
it; if not, I reject it. It would be an excess of forwardness to take the documents of others 
which pronounce me disinherited. Remember that the promise of Canaan in the Old 
Testament is made to Jews, that is, to the circumcised, who offer sacrifice, and abstain from 
swine’s flesh, and from the other animals which Moses pronounces unclean, and observe 
Sabbaths, and the feast of unleavened bread, and other things of the same kind which the 
author of the Testament enjoined. Christians have not adopted these observances, and no 
one keeps them; so that if we will not take the inheritance, we should surrender the docu- 
ments. This is my first reason for rejecting the Old Testament, unless you teach me better. 
My second reason is, that this inheritance is such a poor fleshly thing, without any spiritual 
blessings, that after the New Testament, and its glorious promise of the kingdom of heaven 
and eternal life, I think it not worth the taking. 

2. Augustin replied: No one doubts that promises of temporal things are contained in 
the Old Testament, for which reason it is called the Old Testament; or that the kingdom of 
heaven and the promise of eternal life belong to the New Testament. But that in these 
temporal things were figures of future things which should be fulfilled in us upon whom 
the ends of the ages are come, is not my fancy, but the judgment of the apostle, when he 
says of such things, "These things were our examples;" and again, "These things happened 
to them for an example, and they are written for us on whom the ends of the ages are 
come." 314 We receive the Old Testament, therefore, not in order to obtain the fulfillment 
of these promises, but to see in them predictions of the New Testament; for the Old bears 
witness to the New. Whence the Lord, after He rose from the dead, and allowed His disciples 
not only to see but to handle Him, still, lest they should doubt their mortal and fleshly senses, 
gave them further confirmation from the testimony of the ancient books, saying, "It was 
necessary that all things should be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in 

o i c 

the Prophets and Psalms, concerning me." Our hope, therefore, rests not on the promise 
of temporal things. Nor do we believe that the holy and spiritual men of these times — the 
patriarchs and prophets — were taken up with earthly things. For they understood, by the 
revelation of the Spirit of God, what was suitable for that time, and how God appointed all 
these sayings and actions as types and predictions of the future. Their great desire was for 
the New Testament; but they had a personal duty to perform in those predictions, by which 
the new things of the future were foretold. So the life as well as the tongue of these men was 


314 1 Cor. x. 6, 11. 

315 Lukexxiv. 44. 

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Faustus ’s reasons for rejecting the Old Testament, and Augustin ’s animadversions. . . 


prophetic. The carnal people, indeed, thought only of present blessings, though even in 
connection with the people there were prophecies of the future. 

These things you do not understand, because, as the prophet said, "Unless you believe, 
you shall not understand." For you are not instructed in the kingdom of heaven, — that 
is, in the true Catholic Church of Christ. If you were, you would bring forth from the 
treasure of the sacred Scriptures things old as well as new. For the Lord Himself says, 
"Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like an householder who 
brings forth from his treasure things new and old." And so, while you profess to receive 
only the new promises of God, you have retained the oldness of the flesh, adding only the 
novelty of error; of which novelty the apostle says, "Shun profane novelties of words, for 
they increase unto more ungodliness, and their speech eats like a cancer. Of whom is Hy- 
menaeus and Philetus, who concerning the faith have erred, saying that the resurrection is 

-3 1 O 

past already, and have overthrown the faith of some." Here you see the source of your 
false doctrine, in teaching that the resurrection is only of souls by the preaching of the truth, 
and that there will be no resurrection of the body. But how can you understand spiritual 
things of the inner man, who is renewed in the knowledge of God, when in the oldness of 
the flesh, if you do not possess temporal things, you concoct fanciful notions about them 
in those images of carnal things of which the whole of your false doctrine consists? You 
boast of despising as worthless the land of Canaan, which was an actual thing, and actually 
given to the Jews; and yet you tell of a land of light cut asunder on one side, as by a narrow 
wedge, by the land of the race of darkness, — a thing which does not exist, and which you 
believe from the delusion of your minds; so that your life is not supported by having it, and 

31Q 

your mind is wasted in desiring it. 


316 Isa. vii. 9. 

317 Matt. xiii. 52. 

318 2 Tim. ii. 16-18. 


319 


[A good argumentum ad hominem , a species of argument which Augustin is fond of using. — A.H.N.] 

278 


Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent... 


Book V. 

Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent believers in the 
Gospel, and seeks to establish this claim by comparing Manichcean and Catholic obedience 
to the precepts of the Gospel. Augustin exposes the hypocrisy of the Manichceans and 
praises the asceticism of Catholics. 

1. Faustus said: Do I believe the gospel? You ask me if I believe it, though my obedience 
to its commands shows that I do. I should rather ask you if you believe it, since you give 
no proof of your belief. I have left my father, mother, wife, and children, and all else that 
the gospel requires; and do you ask if I believe the gospel? Perhaps you do not know 
what is called the gospel. The gospel is nothing else than the preaching and the precept of 
Christ. I have parted with all gold and silver, and have left off carrying money in my purse; 
content with daily food; without anxiety for tomorrow; and without solicitude about how 
I shall be fed, or where-withal I shall be clothed: and do you ask if I believe the gospel? Y ou 
see in me the blessings of the gospel; and do you ask if I believe the gospel? You see me 
poor, meek, a peacemaker, pure in heart, mourning, hungering, thirsting, bearing persecu- 
tions and enmity for righteousness’ sake; and do you doubt my belief in the gospel? One 
can understand now how John the Baptist, after seeing Jesus, and also hearing of His works, 
yet asked whether He was Christ. Jesus properly and justly did not deign to reply that He 

was; but reminded him of the works of which he had already heard: "The blind see, the deaf 

'1'}'} 

hear, the dead are raised." In the same way, I might very well reply to your question 
whether I believe the gospel, by saying, I have left all, father, mother, wife, children, gold, 
silver, eating, drinking, luxuries, pleasures; take this as a sufficient answer to your questions, 

O'} o 

and believe that you will be blessed if you are not offended in me. 

2. But, according to you, to believe the gospel is not only to obey its commands, but 
also to believe in all that is written in it; and, first of all, that God was born. But neither is 
believing the gospel only to believe that Jesus was born, but also to do what He commands. 
So, if you say that I do not believe the gospel because I disbelieve the incarnation, much 
more do you not believe because you disregard the commandments. At any rate, we are on 
a par till these questions are settled. If your disregard of the precepts does not prevent you 
from professing faith in the gospel, why should my rejection of the genealogy prevent me? 
And if, as you say, to believe the gospel includes both faith in the genealogies and obedience 


320 Matt. xix. 29. 

321 Matt. v. 3-11. 

322 Matt. xi. 2-6. 

323 [This is a good description of ideal Manichaean religious life. Whether Faustus lived up to the claims 
here set forth is another question. — A.H.N.] 


279 


Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent... 


to the precepts, why do you condemn me, since we both are imperfect? What one wants 
the other has. But if, as there can be no doubt, belief in the gospel consists solely in obedience 
to the commands of God, your sin is twofold. As the proverb says, the deserter accuses the 
soldier. But suppose, since you will have it so, that there are these two parts of perfect faith, 
one consisting in word, or the confession that Christ was born, the other in deed or the ob- 
servance of the precepts; it is plain that my part is hard and painful, yours light and easy. 
It is natural that the multitude should flock to you and away from me, for they know not 
that the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. Why, then, do you blame me for 
taking the harder part, and leaving to you, as to a weak brother, the easy part? You have 
the idea that your part of faith, or confessing that Christ was born, has more power to save 
the soul than the other parts. 

3. Let us then ask Christ Himself, and learn from His own mouth, what is the chief 
means of our salvation. Who shall enter, O Christ, into Thy kingdom? He that doeth the 
will of my Father in heaven, is His reply; not, "He that confesses that I was born." And 
again, He says to His disciples, "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things which I 

oo c 

have commanded you." It is not, "teaching them that I was born," but, "to observe my 

O') ST 

commandments." Again, "Ye are my friends if ye do what I command you;" not, "if you 

oon 

believe that I was born." Again, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love," 
and in many other places. Also in the sermon on the mount, when He taught, "Blessed are 
the poor, blessed are the meek, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are the pure in heart, 
blessed are they that mourn, blessed are they that hunger, blessed are they that are persecuted 
for righteousness’ sake," He nowhere says, "Blessed are they that confess that I was born." 
And in the separation of the sheep from the goats in the judgment, He says that He will say 
to them on the right hand, "I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave 
me drink," and so on; therefore "inherit the kingdom." Not, "Because ye believe that I 
was born, inherit the kingdom." Again, to the rich man seeking for eternal life, He says, 
"Go, sell all that thou hast, and follow me;” not, "Believe that I was born, that you may 
have eternal life.” You see, the kingdom, life, happiness, are everywhere promised to the 
part I have chosen of what you call the two parts of faith, and nowhere to your part. Show, 


324 Matt. vii. 21. 

325 Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 

326 John xv. 14. 

327 John xv. 10. 

328 Matt v. 3-10. 

329 Matt. xxv. 35. 

330 Matt. xix. 21. 


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Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent... 


if you can, a place where it is written that whoso confesses that Christ was born of a woman 
is blessed, or shall inherit the kingdom, or have eternal life. Even supposing, then, that there 
are two parts of faith, your part has no blessing. But what if we prove that your part is not 
a part of faith at all? It will follow that you are foolish, which indeed will be proved beyond 
a doubt. At present, it is enough to have shown that our part is crowned with the beatitudes. 
Besides, we have also a beatitude for a confession in words: for we confess that Jesus Christ 
is the Son of the living God; and Jesus declares with His own lips that this confession has a 
benediction, when He says to Peter, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood 

Q O 1 

hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." So that we have not 
one, but both these parts of faith, and in both alike are we pronounced blessed by Christ; 
for in one we reduce faith to practice, while in the other our confession is unmixed with 
blasphemy. 

4. Augustin replied: I have already said that the Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly calls 
Himself the Son of man, and that the Manichaeans have contrived a silly story about some 
fabulous First Man, who figures in their impious heresy, not earthly, but combined with 
spurious elements, in opposition to the apostle, who says, "The first man is of the earth, 
earthy;" and that the apostle carefully warns us, "If any one preaches to you differently 

TOO 

from what we have preached, let him be accursed." So that we must believe Christ to be 
the Son of man according to apostolic truth, not according to Manichaean error. And since 
the evangelists assert that Christ was born of a woman, of the seed of David, and Paul writing 
to Timothy says, "Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the 
dead, according to my gospel," it is clear what sense we must believe Christ to be the Son 
of man; for being the Son of God by whom we were made, He also by His incarnation became 
the Son of man, that He might die for our sins, and rise again for our justification. Ac- 

cordingly He calls Himself both Son of God and Son of man. To take only one instance out 
of many, in the Gospel of John it is written, "Verity, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, 
and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall 
live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son to have life in 
Himself; and hath given Him power to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of 
man." He says, "They shall hear the voice of the Son of God;" and He says, "because He 
is the Son of man." As the Son of man, He has received power to execute judgment, because 


331 

Matt. xvi. 7. 

332 

1 Cor. xv. 47. 

333 

Gal. i. 8, 9. 

334 

2 Tim. ii. 8. 

335 

Rom. iv. 25. 

336 

John v. 25-27. 


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Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent... 


He will come to judgment in human form, that He may be seen by the good and the wicked. 
In this form He ascended into heaven, and that voice was heard by His disciples, "He shall 
so come as ye have seen Him go into heaven." As the Son of God, as God equal to and 
one with the Father, He will not be seen by the wicked; for "blessed are the pure in heart, 
for they shall see God." Since, then, He promises eternal life to those that believe in Him, 
and since to believe in Him is to believe in the true Christ, such as He declares Himself and 
His apostles declare Him to be, true Son of God and true Son of man; you, Manichaeans, 
who believe on a false and spurious son of a false and spurious man, and teach that God 
Himself, from fear of the assault of the hostile race, gave up His own members to be tortured, 
and after all not to be wholly liberated, are plainly far from that eternal life which Christ 
promises to those who believe in Him. It is true, He said to Peter when he confessed Him 
to be the Son of God, "Blessed art thou, Simon. Barjona." But does He promise nothing to 
those who believe Him to be the Son of man, when the Son of God and the Son of man are 
the same? Besides, eternal life is expressly promised to those who believe in the Son of man. 
"As Moses," He says, "lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted 

o o o 

up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." What more 
do you wish? Believe then in the Son of man, that you may have eternal life; for He is also 
the Son of God, who can give eternal life: for He is "the true God and eternal life," as the 
same John says in his epistle. John also adds, that he is antichrist who denies that Christ 
has come in the flesh. 

5. There is no need, then that you should extol so much the perfection of Christ’s 
commands, because you obey the precepts of the gospel. For the precepts, supposing you 
really to fulfill them, would not profit you without true faith. Do you not know that the 
apostle says, "If I distribute all my goods to the poor, and give my body to be burned, and 
have not charity, it profiteth me nothing?" 340 Why do you boast of having Christian poverty, 
when you are destitute of Christian charity? Robbers have a kind of charity to one another, 
arising from a mutual consciousness of guilt and crime; but this is not the charity commended 
by the apostle. In another passage he distinguishes true charity from all base and vicious 
affections, by saying, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and 
a good conscience, and faith unfeigned." 341 How then can you have true charity from a 
fictitious faith? You persist in a faith corrupted by falsehood: for your First Man, accord- 


337 Acts. i. 14. 

338 John iii. 14, 15. 

339 1 John v. 20, iv. 3. 

340 1 Cor. xiii. 3. 

341 1 Tim. i. 5. 


342 


[Augustin confounds saving faith with orthodox doctrine, as has been too commonly done since. — A.H.N.] 

282 


Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent. . . 


ing to you, used deceit in the conflict by changing his form, while his enemies remained in 
their own nature; and, besides, you maintain that Christ, who says, "I am the truth," feigned 
His incarnation, His death on the cross, the wounds of His passion, the marks shown after 
His resurrection. If you speak the truth, and your Christ speaks falsehood, you must be 
better than he. But if you really follow your own Christ, your truthfulness may be doubted, 
and your obedience to the precepts you speak of may be only a pretence. Is it true, as 
Faustus says, that you have no money in your purses? He means, probably, that your money 
is in boxes and bags; nor would we blame you for this, if you did not profess one thing and 
practise another. Constantius, who is still alive, and is now our brother in Catholic Chris- 
tianity, once gathered many of your sect into his house at Rome, to keep these precepts of 
Manichaeus, which you think so much of, though they are very silly and childish. The pre- 
cepts proved too much for your weakness, and the gathering was entirely broken up. Those 
who persevered separated from your communion, and are called Mattarians, because they 
sleep on mats, — a very different bed from the feathers of Faustus and his goatskin coverlets, 
and all the grandeur that made him despise not only the Mattarians, but also the house of 
his poor father in Mileum. Away, then, with this accursed hypocrisy from your writing, if 
not from your conduct; or else your language will conflict with your life by your deceitful 
words, as your First Man with the race of darkness by his deceitful elements. 

6. I am, however, addressing not merely men who fail to do what they are commanded, 
but the members of a deluded sect. For the precepts of Manichaeus are such that, if you do 
not keep them, you are deceivers; if you do keep them, you are deceived. Christ never taught 
you that you should not pluck a vegetable for fear of committing homicide; for when His 
disciples were hungry when passing through a field of corn, He did not forbid them to pluck 
the ears on the Sabbath-day; which was a rebuke to the Jews of the time since the action was 
on Sabbath; and a rebuke in the action itself to the future Manichaeans. The precept of 
Manichaeus, however, only requires you to do nothing while others commit homicide for 
you; though the real homicide is that of ruining miserable souls by such doctrines of devils. 

7. The language of Faustus has the typhus of heresy in it, and is the language of over- 
weening arrogance. "You see in me" he says, "the beatitudes of the gospel; and do you ask 
if I believe the gospel? You see me poor, meek, a peacemaker, pure in heart, mourning, 
hungering, thirsting, bearing persecution and enmity for righteousness’ sake; and do you 
doubt my belief in the gospel?" If to justify oneself were to be just, Faustus would have flown 
to heaven while uttering these words. I say nothing of the luxurious habits of Faustus, 
known to all the followers of the Manichaeans, and especially to those at Rome. I shall 
suppose a Manichaean such as Constantius sought for, when he enforced the observance of 
these precepts with the sincere desire to see them observed. How can I see him to be poor 
in spirit, when he is so proud as to believe that his own soul is God, and is not ashamed to 
speak of God as in bondage? How can I see him meek, when he affronts all the authority 


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Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent. . . 


of the evangelists rather than believe? How a peacemaker, when he holds that the divine 
nature itself by which God is whatever is, and is the only true existence, could not remain 
in lasting peace? How pure in heart, when his heart is filled with so many impious notions? 
How mourning, unless it is for his God captive and bound till he be freed and escape, with 
the loss, however, of a part which is to be united by the Father to the mass of darkness, and 
is not to be mourned for? How hungering and thirsting for righteousness, which Faustus 
omits in his writings lest, no doubt, he should be thought destitute of righteousness? But 
how can they hunger and thirst after righteousness, whose perfect righteousness will consist 
in exulting over their brethren condemned to darkness, not for any fault of their own, but 
for being irremediably contaminated by the pollution against which they were sent by the 
Father to contend? 

8. How do you suffer persecution and enmity for righteousness’ sake, when, according 
to you, it is righteous to preach and teach these impieties? The wonder is, that the gentleness 
of Christian times allows such perverse iniquity to pass wholly or almost unpunished. And 
yet, as if we were blind or silly, you tell us that your suffering reproach and persecution is 
a great proof of your righteousness. If people are just according to the amount of their 
suffering, atrocious criminals of all kinds suffer much more than you. But, at any rate, if 
we are to grant that suffering endured on account of any sort of profession of Christianity 
proves the sufferer to be in possession of true faith and righteousness, you must admit that 
any case of greater suffering that we can show proves the possession of truer faith and 
greater righteousness. Of such cases you know many among our martyrs, and chiefly Cyp- 
rian himself, whose writings also bear witness to his belief that Christ was born of the Virgin 
Mary. For this faith, which you abhor, he suffered and died along with many Christian be- 
lievers of that day, who suffered as much, or more. Faustus, when shown to be a Manichaean 
by evidence, or by his own confession, on the intercession of the Christians themselves, who 
brought him before the proconsul, was, along with some others, only banished to an island, 
which can hardly be called a punishment at all, for it is what God’s servants do of their own 
accord every day when they wish to retire from the tumult of the world. Besides, earthly 
sovereigns often by a public decree give release from this banishment as an act of mercy. 
And in this way all were afterwards released at once. Confess, then, that they were in pos- 
session of a truer faith and a more righteous life, who were accounted worthy to suffer for 
it much more than you ever suffered. Or else, cease boasting of the abhorrence which many 
feel for you, and learn to distinguish between suffering for blasphemy and suffering for 
righteousness. What it is you suffer for, your own books will show in a way that deserves 
your most particular attention. 

9. Those evangelical precepts of peculiar sublimity which you make people who know 
no better believe that you obey, are really obeyed by multitudes in our communion. Are 
there not among us many of both sexes who have entirely refrained from sexual intercourse, 


284 



Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent... 


and many formerly married who practise continence? Are there not many others who give 
largely of their property, or give it up altogether, and many who keep the body in subjection 
by fasts, either frequent or daily, or protracted beyond belief? Then there are fraternities 
whose members have no property of their own, but all things common, including only things 
necessary for food and clothing, living with one soul and one heart towards God, inflamed 
with a common feeling of charity. In all such professions many turn out to be deceivers 
and reprobates, while many who are so are never discovered; many, too, who at first walk 
well, fall away rapidly from willfulness. Many are found in times of trial to have adopted 
this kind of life with another intention than they professed; and again, many in humility 
and steadfastness persevere in their course to the end, and are saved. There are apparent 
diversities in these societies; but one charity unites all who, from some necessity, in obedience 
to the apostle’s injunction, have their wives as if they had them not, and buy as if they bought 
not, and use this world as if they used it not. With these are joined, in the abundant riches 
of God’s mercy, the inferior class of those to whom it is said, "Defraud not one another, except 
it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to prayer; and come together again, 
that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of 

'lA'X 

commandment." To such the same apostle also says, "Now therefore there is utterly a 
fault among you, that ye go to law one with another;" while, in consideration of their infirm- 
ity, he adds, "If ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who 
are least esteemed in the Church ." 144 For in the kingdom of heaven there are not only those 
who, that they may be perfect, sell or leave all they have and follow the Lord; but others in 
the partnership of charity are joined like a mercenary force to the Christian army, to whom 
it will be said at last, "I was hungry, and ye gave me meat," and so on. Otherwise, there 
would be no salvation for those to whom the apostle gives so many anxious and particular 
directions about their families, telling the wives to be obedient to their husbands, and hus- 
bands to love their wives; children to obey their parents, and parents to bring up their children 
in the instruction and admonition of the Lord; servants to obey with fear their masters ac- 
cording to the flesh, and masters to render to their servants what is just and equal. The 
apostle is far from condemning such people as regardless of gospel precepts, or unworthy 
of eternal life. For where the Lord exhorts the strong to attain perfection, saying, "If any 
man take not up his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple," He immediately adds, 
for the consolation of the weak, "Whoso receiveth a just man in the name of a just man shall 
receive a just man’s reward; and whoso receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall 
receive a prophet’s reward." So that not only he who gives Timothy a little wine for his 


343 1 Cor. vii. 5, 6. 

344 1 Cor. vi. 7, 4. 


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Faustus claims that the Manichceans and not the Catholics are consistent... 


stomach’s sake, and his frequent infirmities, but he who gives to a strong man a cup of cold 
water only in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward. 345 

10. If it is true that a man cannot receive the gospel without giving up everything, why 
do you delude your followers, by allowing them to keep in your service their wives, and 
children, and households, and houses, and fields? Indeed, you may well allow them to dis- 
regard the precepts of the gospel: for all you promise them is not a resurrection, but a change 
to another mortal existence, in which they shall live the silly, childish, impious life of those 
you call the Elect, the life you live yourself, and are so much praised for; or if they possess 
greater merit, they shall enter into melons or cucumbers, or some eatables which you will 
masticate, that they may be quickly purified by your digestion. Least of all should you who 
teach such doctrines profess any regard for the gospel. For if the faith of the gospel had any 
connection with such nonsense, the Lord should have said, not, "I was hungry, and ye gave 
me meat;" but, "Ye were hungry, and ye ate me," or, "I was hungry, and I ate you." For, by 
your absurdities, a man will not be received into the kingdom of God for the service of giving 
food to the saints, but, because he has eaten them and belched them out, or has himself been 
eaten and belched into heaven. Instead of saying, "Lord, when saw we Thee hungry, and 
fed Thee?" the righteous must say, "When saw we Thee hungry, and were eaten by Thee?" 
And He must answer, not, "When ye gave food to one of the least of these my brethren, you 
gave to me;" but, "When you were eaten by one of the least of these my brethren, you were 
eaten by me." 

11. Believing and teaching such monstrosities, and living accordingly, you yet have the 
boldness to say that you obey the precepts of the gospel, and to decry the Catholic Church, 
which includes many weak as well as strong, both of whom the Lord blesses, because both 
according to their measure obey the precepts of the gospel and hope in its promises. The 
blindness of hostility makes you see only the tares in our harvest: for you might easily see 
wheat too, if you were willing that there should be any. But among you, those who are 
pretended Manichaeans are wicked, and those who are really Manichceans are silly. For 
where the faith itself is false, he who hypocritically professes it acts deceitfully, while he who 
truly believes is deceived. Such a faith cannot produce a good life, for every man’s life is 
good or bad according as his heart is engaged. If your affections were set upon spiritual 
and intellectual good, instead of material forms, you would not pay homage to the material 
sun as a divine substance, and as the light of wisdom, which every one knows you do, though 
I now only mention it in passing. 


345 Matt. x. 38-42. 


286 


Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its... 


Book VI. 

Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its precepts, and accuses 
Catholics of inconsistency in neglecting its ordinances, while claiming to accept it as au- 
thoritative. Augustin explains the Catholic view of the relation of the Old Testament to 
the New. 

1. Faustus said: You ask if I believe the Old Testament. Of course not, for I do not 
keep its precepts. Neither, I imagine, do you. I reject circumcision as disgusting; and if I 
mistake not, so do you. I reject the observance of Sabbaths as superfluous: I suppose you 
do the same. I reject sacrifice as idolatry, as doubtless you also do. Swine’s flesh is not the 
only flesh I abstain from; nor is it the only flesh you eat. I think all flesh unclean: you think 
none unclean. Both alike, in these opinions, throw over the Old Testament. We both look 
upon the weeks of unleavened bread and the feast of tabernacles as unnecessary and useless. 
Not to patch linen garments with purple; to count it adultery to make a garment of linen 
and wool; to call it sacrilege to yoke together an ox and an ass when necessary; not to appoint 
as priest a bald man, or a man with red hair, or any similar peculiarity, as being unclean in 
the sight of God, are things which we both despise and laugh at, and rank as of neither first 
nor second importance; and yet they are all precepts and judgments of the Old Testament. 
You cannot blame me for rejecting the Old Testament; for whether it is right or wrong to 
do so, you do it as much as I. As for the difference between your faith and mine, it is this, 
that while you choose to act deceitfully, and meanly to praise in words what in your heart 
you hate, I, not having learned the art of deception, frankly declare that I hate both these 
abominable precepts and their authors. 

2. Augustin replied: How and for what purpose the Old Testament is received by the 
heirs of the New Testament has been already explained. 346 But as the remarks of Faustus 
were then about the promises of the Old Testament, and now he speaks of the precepts, I 
reply that he displays ignorance of the difference between moral and symbolical precepts. 
For example, "Thou shalt not covet" is a moral precept; "Thou shalt circumcise every male 
on the eighth day" is a symbolical precept. From not making this distinction, the 
Manichaeans, and all who find fault with the writings of the Old Testament, not seeing that 
whatever observance God appointed for the former dispensation was a shadow of future 
things, because these observances are now discontinued, condemn them, though no doubt 
what is unsuitable now was perfectly suitable then as prefiguring the things now revealed. 
In this they contradict the apostle who says, "All these things happened to them for an ex- 

'2A r 7 

ample, and they were written for our learning, on whom the end of the world is come." 


346 Book iv. 

347 1 Cor. x. 6. 


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Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its... 


The apostle here explains why these writings are to be received, and why it is no longer ne- 
cessary to continue the symbolical observances. For when he says, "They were written for 
our learning," he clearly shows that we should be very diligent in reading and in discovering 
the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures, and that we should have great veneration for 
them, since it was for us that they were written. Again, when he says, "They are our ex- 
amples," and "these things happened to them for an example," he shows that, now that the 
things themselves are clearly revealed, the observance of the actions by which these things 
were prefigured is no longer binding. So he says elsewhere, "Let no man judge you in meat, 
or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon or of the sabbath-days, which 
are a shadow of things to come." Here also, when he says, "Let no one judge you" in these 

things, he shows that we are no longer bound to observe them. And when he says, "which 
are a shadow of things to come," he explains how these observances were binding at the 
time when the things fully disclosed to us were symbolized by these shadows of future things. 

3. Assuredly, if the Manichaeans were justified by the resurrection of the Lord, — the 
day of whose resurrection, the third after His passion, was the eighth day, coming after the 
Sabbath, that is, after the seventh day, — their carnal minds would be delivered from the 
darkness of earthly passions which rests on them; and rejoicing in the circumcision of the 
heart, they would not ridicule it as prefigured in the Old Testament by circumcision in the 
flesh, although they should not enforce this observance under the New Testament. But, as 
the apostle says, "To the pure all things are pure. But to the impure and unbelieving nothing 
is pure, but both their mind and conscience are defiled." 349 So these people, who are so 
pure in their own eyes, that they regard, or pretend to regard, as impure these members of 
their bodies, are so defiled with unbelief and error, that, while they abhor the circumcision 
of the flesh, — which the apostle calls a seal of the righteousness of faith, — they believe that 
the divine members of their God are subjected to restraint and contamination in these very 
carnal members of theirs. For they say that flesh is unclean; and it follows that God, in the 
part which is detained by the flesh, is made unclean: for they declare that He must be 
cleansed, and that till this is done, as far as it can be done, He undergoes all the passions to 
which flesh is subject, not only in suffering pain and distress, but also in sensual gratification. 
For it is for His sake, they say, that they abstain from sexual intercourse, that He may not 
be bound more closely in the bondage of the flesh, nor suffer more defilement. The apostle 
says, "To the pure all things are pure." And if this is true of men, who may be led into evil 
by a perverse will, how much more must all things be pure to God, who remains for ever 
immutable and immaculate! In those books which you defile with your violent reproaches, 
it is said of the divine wisdom, that "no defiled thing falleth into it, and it goeth everywhere 


348 Col. ii. 16, 17. 

349 Tit. i. 15. 


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irn 

by reason of its pureness." It is mere prurient absurdity to find fault with the sign of 
human regeneration appointed by that God, to whom all things are pure, to be put on the 
organ of human generation, while you hold that your God, to whom nothing is pure, is in 
a part of his nature subjected to taint and corruption by the vicious actions in which impure 
men employ the members of their body. For if you think there is pollution in conjugal in- 
tercourse, what must there be in all the practices of the licentious? If you ask, then, as you 
often do, whether God could not find some other way of sealing the righteousness of faith, 
the answer is, Why not this way, since all things are pure to the pure, much more to God? 
And we have the authority of the apostle for saying that circumcision was the seal of the 
righteousness of the faith of Abraham. As for you, you must try not to blush when you are 
asked whether your God had nothing better to do than to entangle part of his nature with 
these members that you revile so much. These are delicate subjects to speak of, on account 
of the penal corruption attending the propagation of man. They are things which call into 
exercise the modesty of the chaste, the passions of the impure, and the justice of God. 

4. The rest of the Sabbath we consider no longer binding as an observance, now that 
the hope of our eternal rest has been revealed. But it is a very useful thing to read of, and 
to reflect on. In prophetic times, when things now manifested were prefigured and predicted 
by actions as well as words, this sign of which we read was a presage of the reality which we 
possess. But I wish to know why you observe a sort of partial rest. The Jews, on their Sabbath, 
which they still keep in a carnal manner, neither gather any fruit in the field, nor dress and 
cook it at home. But you, in your rest, wait till one of your followers takes his knife or hook 
to the garden, to get food for you by murdering the vegetables, and brings back, strange to 
say, living corpses. For if cutting plants is not murder, why are you afraid to do it? And 
yet, if the plants are murdered, what becomes of the life which is to obtain release and res- 
toration from your mastication and digestion? Well, you take the living vegetables, and 
certainly you ought, if it could be done to swallow them whole; so that after the one wound 
your follower has been guilty of inflicting in pulling them, of which you will no doubt consent 
to absolve him, they may reach without loss or injury your private laboratory, where your 
God may be healed of his wound. Instead of this, you not only tear them with your teeth, 
but, if it pleases your taste, mince them, inflicting a multitude of wounds in the most crim- 
inal manner. Plainly it would be a most advantageous thing if you would rest at home too, 
and not only once a week, like the Jews, but every day of the week. The cucumbers suffer 
while you are cooking them, without any benefit to the life that is in them: for a boiling pot 
cannot be compared to a saintly stomach. And yet you ridicule as superfluous the rest of 
the Sabbath. Would it not be better, not only to refrain from finding fault with the fathers 
for this observance, in whose case it was not superfluous, but, even now that it is superfluous, 


350 Wisd. vii. 24, 25. 


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to observe this rest yourselves instead of your own, which has no symbolical use, and is 
condemned as grounded on falsehood? According to your own foolish opinions, you are 
guilty of a defective observance of your own rest, though the observance itself is foolish in 
the judgment of truth. You maintain that the fruit suffers when it is pulled from the tree, 
when it is cut and scraped, and cooked, and eaten. So you are wrong in eating anything 
that can not be swallowed raw and unhurt, so that the wound inflicted might not be from 
you, but from your follower in pulling them. You declare that you could not give release 
to so great a quantity of life, if you were to eat only things which could be swallowed without 
cooking or mastication. But if this release compensates for all the pains you inflict, why is 
it unlawful for you to pull the fruit? Fruit may be eaten raw, as some of your sect make a 
point of eating raw vegetables of all kinds. But before it can be eaten at all, it must be pulled 
or fall off, or be taken in some way from the ground or from the tree. You might well be 
pardoned for pulling it, since nothing can be done without that, but not for torturing the 
members of your God to the extent you do in dressing your food. One of your silly notions 
is that the tree weeps when the fruit is pulled. Doubtless the life in the tree knows all things, 
and perceives who it is that comes to it. If the elect were to come and pull the fruit, would 
not the tree rejoice to escape the misery of having its fruit plucked by others, and to gain 
felicity by enduring a little momentary pain? And yet, while you multiply the pains and 
troubles of the fruit after it is plucked, you will not pluck it. Explain that, if you can! Fasting 
itself is a mistake in your case. There should be no intermission in the task of purging away 
the dross of the excrements from the spiritual gold, and of releasing the divine members 
from confinement. The most merciful man among you is he who keeps himself always in 
good health, takes raw food, and eats a great deal. But you are cruel when you eat, in making 
your food undergo so much suffering; and you are cruel when you fast, in desisting from 

or 1 

the work of liberating the divine members. 

5. With all this, you venture to denounce the sacrifices of the Old Testament, and to 
call them idolatry, and to attribute to us the same impious notion. To answer for ourselves 
in the first place, while we consider it no longer a duty to offer sacrifices, we recognize sac- 
rifices as part of the mysteries of Revelation, by which the things prophesied were foreshad- 
owed. For they were our examples, and in many and various ways they all pointed to the 
one sacrifice which we now commemorate. Now that this sacrifice has been revealed, and 
has been offered in due time, sacrifice is no longer binding as an act of worship, while it re- 
tains its symbolical authority. For these things "were written for our learning, upon whom 

in 

the end of the world is come." What you object to in sacrifice is the slaughter of animals, 


351 [In bringing to notice the absurdities of the Manichaean moral system, Augustin may seem to be trifling, 
but he is in reality striking at the root of the heresy. — A.H.N.] 

352 ICor.x. 11. 


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Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its... 


though the whole animal creation is intended conditionally in some way for the use of man. 
You are merciful to beasts, believing them to contain the souls of human beings, while you 
refuse a piece of bread to a hungry beggar. The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, was cruel to 
the swine when He granted the request of the devils to be allowed to enter into them. 

The same Lord Jesus, before the sacrifice of His passion, said to a leper whom He had cured, 
"Go, show thyself to the priest, and give the offering, as Moses commanded, for a testimony 
unto them." 354 When God, by the prophets, repeatedly declares that He needs no offering, 
as indeed reason teaches us that offerings cannot be needed by Him who stands in need of 
nothing, the human mind is led to inquire what God wished to teach us by these sacrifices. 
For, assuredly, He would not have required offerings of which He had no need, except to 
teach us something that it would profit us to know, and which was suitably set forth by 
means of these symbols. How much better and more honorable it would be for you to be 
still bound by these sacrifices, which have an instructive meaning, though they are not now 
necessary, than to require your followers to offer to you as food what you believe to be living 
victims. The Apostle Paul says most appropriately of some who preached the gospel to 

ore 

gratify their appetite, that their "god was their belly." But the arrogance of your impiety 
goes much beyond this; for, instead of making your belly your god, you do what is far worse 
in making your belly the purifier of God. Surely it is great madness to make a pretence of 
piety in not slaughtering animals, while you hold that the souls of animals inhabit all the 
food you eat, and yet make what you call living creatures suffer such torture from your 
hands and teeth. 

6. If you will not eat flesh why should you not slay animals in sacrifice to your God, in 
order that their souls, which you hold to be not only human, but so divine as to be members 
of God Himself, may be released from the confinement of flesh, and be saved from returning 
by the efficacy of your prayers? Perhaps, however, your stomach gives more effectual aid 
than your intellect, and that part of divinity which has had the advantage of passing through 
your bowels is more likely to be saved than that which has only the benefit of your prayers. 
Your objection to eating flesh will be that you cannot eat animals alive, and so the operation 
of your stomach will not avail for the liberation of their souls. Happy vegetables, that, torn 
up with the hand, cut with knives, tortured in fire, ground by teeth, yet reach alive the altars 
of your intestines! Unhappy sheep and oxen, that are not so tenacious of life, and therefore 
are refused entrance into your bodies! Such is the absurdity of your notions. And you 
persist in making out an opposition in us to the Old Testament, because we consider no 

o r sr 

flesh unclean: according to the opinion of the apostle, "To the pure all things are pure;" 


353 Matt. viii. 32. 

354 Lukev. 14. 

355 Phil. iii. 19. 


356 


Tit. i. 15. 


291 


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and according to the saying of our Lord Himself, "Not that which goeth into your mouth 
defileth you, but that which cometh out." This was not said to the crowd only, as your 
Adimantus, whom Faustus, in his attack on the Old Testament, praises as second only to 
Manichaeus, wishes us to understand; but when retired from the crowd, the Lord repeated 
this still more plainly and pointedly to His disciples. Adimantus quotes this saying of our 
Lord in opposition to the Old Testament, where the people are prohibited from eating some 
animals which are pronounced unclean; and doubtless he was afraid that he should be asked 
why, since he quotes a passage from the Gospel about man not being defiled by what enters 
into his mouth and passes into his belly, and out into the draft, he yet considers not some 
only, but all flesh unclean, and abstains from eating it. It is in order to escape from this 
strait, when the plain truth is too much for his error, that he makes the Lord say this to the 
crowd; as if the Lord were in the habit of speaking the truth only in small companies, while 
He blurted out falsehoods in public. To speak of the Lord in this way is blasphemy. And 
all who read the passage can see that the Lord said the same thing more plainly to His disciples 
in private. Since Faustus praises Adimantus so much at the beginning of this book of his, 
placing him next to Manichaeus, let him say in a word whether it is true or false that a man 
is not defiled by what enters into his mouth. If it is false, why does this great teacher Adi- 
mantus quote it against the Old Testament? If it is true, why, in spite of this, do you believe 
that eating any flesh will defile you? It is true, if you choose this explanation, that the apostle 
does not say that all things are pure to heretics, but, "to the pure all things are pure." The 
apostle also goes on to explain why all things are not pure to heretics: "To the impure and 

OCQ 

unbelieving nothing is pure, but both their mind and conscience are defiled." So to the 
Manichaeans there is absolutely nothing pure; for they hold that the very substance or nature 
of God not only may be, but has actually been defiled, and so defiled that it can never be 
wholly restored and purified. What do they mean when they call animals unclean, and refrain 
from eating them, when it is impossible for them to think anything, whether food or whatever 
it may be, clean? According to them, vegetables too, fruits, all kinds of crops, the earth and 
sky, are defiled by mixture with the race of darkness. Why do they not act up to their 
opinions about other things as well as about animals? Why do they not abstain altogether, 
and starve themselves to death, instead of persisting in their blasphemies? If they will not 
repent and reform, this is evidently the best thing that they could do. 

7. The saying of the apostle, that "to the pure all things are pure," and that "every creature 
of God is good," is not opposed to the prohibitions of the Old Testament; and the explanation, 
if they can understand it, is this. The apostle speaks of the natures of the things, while the 
Old Testament calls some animals unclean, not in their nature, but symbolically, on account 


357 Matt.xvi.il. 

358 Tit. i. 15. 

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Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its... 


of the prefigurative character of that dispensation. For instance, a pig and a lamb are both 
clean in their nature, for every creature of God is good; but symbolically, a lamb is clean, 
and a pig unclean. So the words wise and fool are both clean in their nature, as words 
composed of letters but fool may be called symbolically unclean, because it means an unclean 
thing. Perhaps a pig is the same among symbols as a fool is among real things. The animal, 
and the four letters which compose the word, may mean the same thing. No doubt the an- 
imal is pronounced unclean by the law, because it does not chew the cud; which is not a 
fault but its nature. But the men of whom this animal is a symbol are unclean, not by nature, 
but from their own fault; because, though they gladly hear the words of wisdom, they never 
reflect on them afterwards. For to recall, in quiet repose, some useful instruction from the 
stomach of memory to the mouth of reflection, is a kind of spiritual rumination. The animals 
above mentioned are a symbol of those people who do not do this. And the prohibition of 
the flesh of these animals is a warning against this fault. Another passage of Scripture speaks 
of the precious treasure of wisdom, and describes ruminating as clean, and not ruminating 
as unclean: "A precious treasure resteth in the mouth of a wise man; but a foolish man 
swallows it up." Symbols of this kind, either in words or in things, give useful and 
pleasant exercise to intelligent minds in the way of inquiry and comparison. But formerly 
people were required not only to hear, but to practise many such things. For at that time it 
was necessary that, by deeds as well as bywords, those things should be foreshadowed which 
were in after times to be revealed. After the revelation by Christ and in Christ, the community 
of believers is not burdened with the practice of the observances, but is admonished to give 
heed to the prophecy. This is our reason for accounting no animals unclean, in accordance 
with the saying of the Lord and of the apostle, while we are not opposed to the Old Testament, 
where some animals are pronounced unclean. Now let us hear why you consider all animal 
food unclean. 

8. One of your false doctrines is, that flesh is unclean on account of mixture with the 
race of darkness. But this would make not only flesh unclean, but your God himself, in that 
part which he sent to become subject to absorption and contamination, in order that the 
enemy might be conquered and taken captive. Besides, on account of this mixture, all that 
you eat must be unclean. But you say flesh is especially unclean. It requires patience to 
listen to all their absurd reasons for this peculiar impurity of flesh. I will mention only what 
will suffice to show the inveterate folly of these critics of the Old T estament, who, while they 
denounce flesh, savor only fleshly things, and have no sort of spiritual perception. And a 
lengthy discussion of this question may perhaps enable us to dispense with saying much on 
some other points. The following, then, is an account of their vain delusions in this mat- 
ter: — In that battle, when the First Man ensnared the race of darkness by deceitful elements, 


359 Prov. xxi. 20. 


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princes of both sexes belonging to this race were taken. By means of these princes the world 
was constructed; and among those used in the formation of the heavenly bodies, were some 
pregnant females. When the sky began to rotate, the rapid circular motion made these fe- 
males give birth to abortions, which, being of both sexes, fell on the earth, and lived, and 
grew, and came together, and produced offspring. Hence sprang all animal life in earth, 

O/TA 

air, and sea. Now if the origin of flesh is from heaven, that is no reason for thinking it 
especially unclean. Indeed, in this construction of the world, they hold that these principles 
of darkness were arranged higher or lower, according to the greater or less amount of good 
mixed with them in the construction of the various parts of the world. So flesh ought to be 
cleaner than vegetables which come out of the earth, for it comes from heaven. And how 
irrational to suppose that the abortions, before becoming animate, were so lively, though 
in an abortive state, that after falling from the sky, they could live and multiply; whereas, 
after becoming animate, they die if brought forth prematurely, and a fall from a very mod- 
erate height is enough to kill them! The kingdom of life in contest with the kingdom of 
death ought to have improved them, by giving them life instead of making them more per- 
ishable than before. If the perishableness is a consequence of a change of nature, it is wrong 
to say that there is a bad nature. The change is the only cause of the perishableness. Both 
natures are good, though one is better than the other. Whence then comes the peculiar 
impurity of flesh as it exists in this world, sprung, as they say, from heaven? They tell us, 
indeed, of the first bodies of these principles of darkness being generated like worms from 
trees of darkness; and the trees, they say, are produced from the five elements. But supposing 
that the bodies of animals come in the first place from trees, and afterwards from heaven, 
why should they be more unclean than the fruit of trees? Perhaps it will be said that what 
remains after death is unclean, because the life is no longer there. For the same reason fruits 
and vegetables must be unclean, for they die when they are pulled or cut. As we saw before, 
the elect get others to bring their food to them, that they may not be guilty of murder. 
Perhaps, since they say that every living being has two souls, one of the race of light, and 
the other of the race of darkness, the good soul leaves at death, and the bad soul remains. 
But, in that case, the animal would be as much alive as it was in the kingdom of darkness, 
when it had only the soul of its own race, with which it had rebelled against the kingdom 
of God. So, since both souls leave at death, why call the flesh unclean, as if only the good 
soul had left? Any life that remains must be of both kinds; for some remains of the members 
of God are found, we are told, even in filth. There is therefore no reason for making flesh 
more unclean than fruits. The truth is, they pretend to great chastity in holding flesh unclean 
because it is generated. But if the divine body is more grossly shut in by flesh, there is all 
the more reason that they should liberate it by eating. And there are innumerable kinds of 


360 [Compare the Introduction, where an abstract is given of the Fihrist’s account of the creation. — A.H.N.] 

294 



Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its... 


worms not produced from sexual intercourse; some in the neighborhood of Venice come 
from trees, which they should eat, since there is not the same reason for their being unclean. 

q > zr i 

Besides, there are the frogs produced by the earth after a shower of rain. Let them liberate 

the members of their God from these. Let them rebuke the mistake of mankind in preferring 
fowls and pigeons produced from males and females to the pure frogs, daughters of heaven 
and earth. By this theory, the first principles of darkness produced from trees must be purer 
than Manichaeus, who was produced by generation; and his followers, for the same reason, 
must be less pure than the lice which spring from the perspiration of their bodies. But if 
everything that comes from flesh is unclean, because the origin of flesh itself is unclean, 
fruits and vegetables must also be unclean, because they are manured with dung. After this, 
what becomes of the notion that fruits are cleaner than flesh? Dung is the most unclean 
product of flesh, and also the most fertilizing manure. Their doctrine is, that the life escapes 
in the mastication and digestion of the food, so that only a particle remains in the excrement. 
How is it, then, that this particle of life has such an effect on the growth and the quality of 
your favorite food? Flesh is nourished by the productions of the earth, not by its excrements; 
while the earth is nourished by the excrements of flesh, not by its productions. Let them 
say which is the cleaner. Or let them turn from being unbelieving and impure to whom 
nothing is clean, and join with us in embracing the doctrine of the apostle, that to the pure 
all things are pure; that the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; that every creature 
of God is good. All things in nature are good in their own order; and no one sins in using 
them, unless, by disobedience to God, he transgresses his own order, and disturbs their order 
by using them amiss. 

9. The elders who pleased God kept their own order by their obedience, in observing, 
according to God’s arrangement, what was appointed as suitable to certain times. So, al- 
though all animals intended for food are by nature clean, they abstained from some which 
had then a symbolical uncleanness, in preparation for the future revelation of the things 
signified. And so with regard to unleavened bread and all such things, in which the apostle 
says there was a shadow of future things, neglect of their observance under the old dispens- 
ation, when this observance was enjoined, and was employed to prefigure what was afterwards 
to be revealed, would have been as criminal, as it would now be foolish in us, after the light 
of the New Testament has arisen, to think that these predictive observances could be of any 
use to us. On the other hand, since the Old Testament teaches us that the things now revealed 
were so long ago prefigured, that we maybe firm and faithful in our adherence to them, it 


361 [These biological blunders belong to the age, and are not Augustin’s peculiar fancies. Of course, the ar- 
gumentative value of them depends on their general acceptance. — A.H.N.] 


295 



Faustus avows his disbelief in the Old Testament and his disregard of its... 


would be blasphemy and impiety to discard these books, simply because the Lord requires 
of us now not a literal, but a spiritual and intelligent regard to their contents. They were 
written, as the apostle says, for our admonition, on whom the end of the world is come. 
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning."' Not to 
eat unleavened bread in the appointed seven days was a sin in the time of the Old Testament; 
in the time of the New Testament it is not a sin. But having the hope of a future world 
through Christ, who makes us altogether new by clothing our souls with righteousness and 
our bodies with immortality, to believe that the bondage and infirmity of our original cor- 
ruption will prevail over us or over our actions, must continue to be a sin, till the seven days 
of the course of time are accomplished. In the time of the Old Testament, this, under the 
disguise of a type, was perceived by some saints. In the time of the New T estament it is fully 
declared and publicly preached . 364 

What was then a precept of Scripture is now a testimony. Formerly, not to keep the 
feast of tabernacles was a sin, which is not the case now. But not to form part of the building 
of God’s tabernacle, which is the Church, is always a sin. Formerly this was acted in a figure; 
now the record serves as testimony. The ancient tabernacle, indeed, would not have been 
called the tabernacle of the testimony, unless as an appropriate symbol it had borne testimony 
to some truth which was to be revealed in its own time. To patch linen garments with purple, 
or to wear a garment of woollen and linen together, is not a sin now. But to live intemper- 
ately, and to wish to combine opposite modes of life, — as when a woman devoted to religion 
wears the ornaments of married women, or when one who has not abstained from marriage 
dresses like a virgin, — is always sin. So it is sin whenever inconsistent things are combined 
in any man’s life. This, which is now a moral truth, was then symbolized in dress. What 
was then a type is now revealed truth. So the same Scripture which then required symbol- 
ical actions, now testifies to the things signified. The prefigurative observance is now a record 
for the confirmation of our faith. Formerly it was unlawful to plough with an ox and an ass 
together; now it is lawful. The apostle explains this when he quotes the text about not 
muzzling the ox that is treading out the corn. He says, "Does God care for oxen?" What, 
then, have we to do with an obsolete prohibition? The apostle teaches us in the following 
words, "For our sakes it is written." It must be impiety in us not to read what was written 
for our sakes; for it is more for our sakes, to whom the revelation belongs, than for theirs 
who had only the figure. There is no harm in joining an ox with an ass where it is required. 


362 ICor.x. 11. 

363 Rom. xv. 4. 

364 [It will be seen in subsequent portions of this treatise that Augustin carries the typological idea to an 
absurd extreme. — A.H.N.] 

365 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10. 


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But to put a wise man and a fool together, not that one should teach and the other obey, but 
that both with equal authority should declare the word of God, cannot be done without 
causing offence. So the same Scripture which was once a command enjoining the shadow 
in which future things were veiled, is now an authoritative witness to the unveiled truth. 

In what he says of the uncleanness of a man that is bald or has red hair, Faustus is inac- 

o /T/r 

curate, or the manuscript he has used is incorrect. Would that Faustus were not ashamed 

to bear on his forehead the cross of Christ, the want of which is baldness, instead of main- 
taining that Christ, who says, "I am the truth," showed unreal marks, after His resurrection, 
of unreal wounds! Faustus says he has not learned the art of deceiving, and speaks what he 
thinks. He cannot therefore be a disciple of his Christ, whom he madly declares to have 
shown false marks of wounds to his disciples when they doubted. Are we to believe Faustus, 
not only in his other absurdities, but also when he tells us that he does not deceive us in 
calling Christ a deceiver? Is he better than Christ? Is he not a deceiver, while Christ is? Or 
does he prove himself to be a disciple not of the truthful Christ, but of the deceiver 
Manichaeus, by this very falsehood, when he boasts that he has not learned the art of deceiv- 
ing? 


366 Cf. Lev. xxi. 18. 


297 


The genealogical question is again taken up and argued on both sides. 


Book VII. 

The genealogical question is again taken up and argued on both sides. 

1. Faustussaid: You ask why I do not believe in the genealogy of Jesus. Therearemany 
reasons; but the principal is, that He never declares with His own lips that He had an earthly 
father or descent, but on the contrary, that he is not of this world, that He came forth from 
God the Father, that He descended from heaven, that He has no mother or brethren except 
those who do the will of His Father in heaven. Besides, the framers of these genealogies do 
not seem to have known Jesus before His birth or soon after it, so as to have the credibility 
of eye-witnesses of what they narrate. They became acquainted with Jesus as a young man 
of about thirty years of age, if it is not blasphemy to speak of the age of a divine being. Now 
the question regarding a witness is always whether he has seen or heard what he testifies 
to. But the writers of these genealogies never assert that they heard the account from Jesus 
Himself, nor even the fact of His birth; nor did they see Him till they came to know Him 
after his baptism, many years after the time of His birth. To me, therefore, and to every 
sensible man, it appears as foolish to believe this account, as it would be to call into court a 
blind and deaf witness. 

2. Augustin replied: As regards what Faustus calls his principal reason for not receiving 
the genealogy of Jesus Christ, a complete refutation is found in the passages formerly quoted, 
where Christ declares Himself to be the Son of man, and in what we have said of the identity 
of the Son of man with the Son of God: that in His Godhead He has no earthly descent, 
while after the flesh He is of the seed of David, as the apostle teaches. We are to believe, 
therefore, that He came forth from the Father, that He descended from heaven, and also 
that the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst men. If the words, "Who is my mother, 
and who are my brethren?" are quoted to show that Christ had no earthly mother or 
descent, it follows that we must believe that His disciples, whom He here teaches by His 
own example to set no value on earthly relationship, as compared with the kingdom of 
heaven, had no fathers, because Christ says to them, "Call no man father upon earth; for 

o/ro 

one is your F ather, even God." What He taught them to do with reference to their fathers, 

He Himself first did in reference to His own mother and brethren; as in many other things 
He condescended to set us an example, and to go before that we might follow in His foot- 
steps. Faustus’ principal objection to the genealogy fails completely; and after the defeat of 
this invincible force, the rest is easily routed. He says that the apostles who declared Christ 
to be the Son of man as well as the Son of God are not to be believed, because they were not 
present at the birth of Christ, whom they joined when He had reached manhood, nor heard 


367 Matt. xii. 48. 


368 Matt, xxiii. 9. 


298 


The genealogical question is again taken up and argued on both sides. 


of it from Christ Himself. Why then do they believe John when he says, "In the beginning 
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the 
beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything 
made," and such passages, which they agree to, without understanding them? Where 
did John see this, or did he ever hear it from the Lord Himself? In whatever way John learned 
this, those who narrate the nativity may have learned also. Again, how do they know that 
the Lord said, "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" If on the authority of the 
evangelist, why do they not also believe that the mother and the brethren of Christ were 
seeking for Him? They believe that Christ said these words, which they misunderstand, 
while they deny a fact resting on the same authority. Once more, if Matthew could not 
know that Christ was born, because he knew Him only in His manhood, how could 
Manichaeus, who lived so long after, know that He was not born? They will say that 
Manichaeus knew this from the Holy Spirit which was in him. Certainly the Holy Spirit 
would make him speak the truth. But why not rather believe what Christ’s own disciples 
tell us, who were personally acquainted with Him, and who not only had the gift of inspiration 
to supply defects in their knowledge, but in a purely natural way obtained information of 
the birth of Christ, and of His descent, when the event was fresh in memory? And yet he 
dares to call the apostles deaf and blind. Why were you not deaf and blind, to prevent you 
from learning such profane nonsense, and dumb too, to prevent you from uttering it? 


369 John i. 1-5. 


299 


Faustus maintains that to hold to the Old Testament after the giving of. . . 


Book VIII. 

Faustus maintains that to hold to the Old Testament after the giving of the New is putting 
new cloth on an old garment. Augustin further explains the relation of the Old Testament 
to the New, and reproaches the Manichceans with carnality. 

1. Faustus said: Another reason for not receiving the Old Testament is, that I am 

provided with the New; and Scripture says that old and new do not agree. For "no one 
putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, otherwise the rent is made worse." To 

avoid making a worse rent, as you have done, I do not mix Christian newness with Hebrew 
oldness. Every one accounts it mean, when a man has got a new dress, not to give the old 
one to his inferiors. So, even if I were a Jew by birth, as the apostles were, it would be 
proper for me, on receiving the New Testament, to discard the Old, as the apostles did. And 
having the advantage of being born free from the yoke of bondage, and being early introduced 
into the full liberty of Christ, what a foolish and ungrateful wretch I should be to put myself 
again under the yoke! This is what Paul blames the Galatians for; because, going back to 
circumcision, they turned again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto they desired 
again to be in bondage. Why should I do what I see another blamed for doing? My going 

into bondage would be worse than their returning to it. 

2. Augustin replied: We have already shown sufficiently why and how we maintain 

the authority of the Old Testament, not for the imitation of Jewish bondage, but for the 
confirmation of Christian liberty. It is not I, but the apostle, who says, "All these things 
happened to them as an example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the 
ends of the world are come." We do not therefore, as bondmen, observe what was enjoined 

as predictive of us; but as free, we read what was written to confirm us. So any one may see 
that the apostle remonstrates with the Galatians not for devoutly reading what Scripture 
says of circumcision, but for superstitiously desiring to be circumcised. We do not put a 
new cloth to an old garment, but we are instructed in the kingdom of heaven, like the 

070 

householder, whom the Lord describes as bringing out of his treasure things new and old. 

He who puts a new cloth to an old garment is the man who attempts spiritual self-denial 
before he has renounced fleshly hope. Examine the passage, and you will see that, when the 
Lord was asked about fasting, He replied, "No man putteth a new cloth to an old garment." 
The disciples had still a carnal affection for the Lord; for they were afraid that, if He died, 
they would lose Him. So He calls Peter Satan for dissuading Him from suffering, because 


370 Matt. ix. 16. 

371 Gal. iv. 9. 

372 ICor.x. 11. 


373 Matt. xiii. 52. 


300 


Faustus maintains that to hold to the Old Testament after the giving of. . . 


074 

he understood not the things of God, but the things of men. The fleshly character of 
your hope is evident from your fancies about the kingdom of God, and from your paying 
homage and devotion to the light of the sun, which the carnal eye perceives, as if it were an 
image of heaven. So your carnal mind is the old garment to which you join your fasts. 
Moreover, if a new cloth and an old garment do not agree, how do the members of your 
God come to be not only joined or fastened, but to be united far more intimately by mixture 
and coherence to the principles of darkness? Perhaps both are old, because both are false, 
and both of the carnal mind. Or perhaps you wish to prove that one was new and the other 
old, by the rent being made worse, in tearing away the unhappy piece of the kingdom of 
light, to be doomed to eternal imprisonment in the mass of darkness. So this pretended 
artist in the fashions of the sacred Scriptures is found stitching together absurdities, and 
dressing himself in the rags of his own invention. 


374 Matt. xvi. 23. 


301 


Faustus argues that if the apostles born under the old covenant could lawfully... 


Book IX. 

Faustus argues that if the apostles born under the old covenant could lawfully depart from it, 
much more can he having been born a Gentile. Augustin explains the relation of Jews 
and Gentiles alike to the Gospel. 

1. Faustus said: Another reason for not receiving the Old Testament is, that if it was 
allowable for the apostles, who were born under it, to abandon it, much more may I, who 
was not born under it, be excused for not thrusting myself into it. We Gentiles are not born 
Jews, nor Christians either. Out of the same Gentile world some are induced by the Old 
Testament to become Jews, and some by the New Testament to become Christians. It is as 
if two trees, a sweet and a bitter, drew from one soil the sap which each assimilates to its 
own nature. The apostle passed from the bitter to the sweet; it would be madness in me to 
change from the sweet to the bitter. 

2. Augustin replied: You say that the apostle, in leaving Judaism, passed from the bitter 
to the sweet. But the apostle himself says that the Jews, who would not believe in Christ, 
were branches broken off, and that the Gentiles, a wild olive tree, were grafted into the good 
olive, that is, the holy stock of the Hebrews, that they might partake of the fatness of the 
olive. For, in warning the Gentiles not to be proud on account of the fall of the Jews, he 
says: "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles. I magnify 
my office; if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might 
save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what 
shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the first fruit be holy, the lump 
is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches are 
broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them 
partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches: but if thou 
boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were 
broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and 
thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural 
branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity 
of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His 
goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, 
shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the 
olive tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive 
tree; how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own 
olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery (lest ye 
should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the 

one 

fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved." It appears from this, 


375 Rom. xi. 16-26. 


302 


Faustus argues that if the apostles born under the old covenant could lawfully... 


that you, who do not wish to be graffed into this root, though you are not broken off, like 
the carnal unbelieving Jews, remain still in the bitterness of the wild olive. Your worship 
of the sun and moon has the true Gentile flavor. You are none the less in the wild olive of 
the Gentiles, because you have added thorns of a new kind, and worship along with the sun 
and moon a false Christ, the fabrication not of your hands, but of your perverse heart. 
Come, then, and be grafted into the root of the olive tree, in his return to which the apostle 
rejoices, after by unbelief he had been among the broken branches. He speaks of himself 
as set free, when he made the happy transition from Judaism to Christianity. For Christ 
was always preached in the olive tree, and those who did not believe on Him when He came 
were broken off, while those who believed were grafted in. These are thus warned against 
pride: "Be not high-minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural branches, neither 
will He spare thee.” And to prevent despair of those broken off, he adds: "And they also, if 
they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary 
to nature into a good olive tree, how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, 
be grafted into their own olive tree." The apostle rejoices in being delivered from the condi- 
tion of a broken branch, and in being restored to the fatness of the olive tree. So you who 
have been broken off by error should return and be grafted in again. Those who are still in 
the wild olive should separate themselves from its barrenness, and become partakers of 
fertility. 


303 



Faustus insists that the Old Testament promises are radically different. . . 


Book X. 

Faustus insists that the Old Testament promises are radically different from those of the New. 

Augustin admits a difference, but maintains that the moral precepts are the same in both. 

1. Faustus said: Another reason for not receiving the Old Testament is, that both the 
Old and the New teach us not to covet what belongs to others. Everything in the Old Test- 
ament is of this kind. It promises riches, and plenty, and children, and children’s children, 
and long life, and withal the land of Canaan; but only to the circumcised, the Sabbath ob- 
servers, those offering sacrifices, and abstaining from swine’s flesh. Now I, like every other 
Christian, pay no attention to these things, as being trifling and useless for the salvation of 
the soul. I conclude, therefore, that the promises do not belong to me. And mindful of the 
commandment, Thou shall not covet, I gladly leave to the Jews their own property, and 
content myself with the gospel, and with the bright inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. 
If a Jew were to claim part in the gospel, I should justly reproach him with claiming what 
he had no right to, because he does not obey its precepts. And a Jew might say the same to 
me if I professed to receive the Old Testament while I disregard its requirements. 

2. Augustin replied: Faustus is not ashamed to repeat the same nonsense again and 
again. But it is tiresome to repeat the same answers, though it is to repeat truth. What 
Faustus says here has already been answered. But if a Jew asks me why I profess to believe 
the Old Testament while I do not observe its precepts, my reply is this: The moral precepts 
of the law are observed by Christians; the symbolical precepts were properly observed during 
the time that the things now revealed were prefigured. Accordingly, those observances, 
which I regard as no longer binding, I still look upon as a testimony, as I do also the carnal 
promises from which the Old Testament derives its name. For although the gospel teaches 
me to hope for eternal blessings, I also find a confirmation of the gospel in those things 
which "happened to them for an example, and were written for our admonition, on whom 
the ends of the world are come." So much for our answer to the Jews. And now we have 
something to say to the Manichaeans. 

3. By showing the way in which we regard the authority of the Old Testament we have 
answered the Jews, by whose question about our not observing the precepts Faustus thought 
we would be puzzled. But what answer can you give to the question, why you deceive simple- 
minded people by professing to believe in the New Testament, while you not only do not 
believe it, but assail it with all your force? It will be more difficult for you to answer this 
than it was for us to answer the Jews. We hold all that is written in the Old Testament to 
be true, and enjoined by God for suitable times. But in your inability to find a reason for 
not receiving what is written in the New Testament, you are obliged, as a last resource, to 


376 Book vi. 2. 


304 



Faustus insists that the Old Testament promises are radically different. . . 


pretend that the passages are not genuine. This is the last gasp of a heretic in the clutches 
of truth; or rather it is the breath of corruption itself. Faustus, however, confesses that the 
Old Testament as well as the New teaches him not to covet. His own God could never have 
taught him this. For if this God did not covet what belonged to another, why did he construct 
new worlds in the region of darkness? Perhaps the race of darkness first coveted his king- 
dom. But this would be to imitate their bad example. Perhaps the kingdom of light was 
previously of small extent, and war was desirable in order to enlarge it by conquest. In that 
case, no doubt, there was covetousness, though the hostile race was allowed to begin the 
wars to j ustify the conquest. If there had been no such desire, there was no necessity to extend 
the kingdom beyond its old limits into the region of the conquered foe. If the Manichaeans 
would only learn from these Scriptures the moral precepts, one of which is, Do not covet, 
instead of taking offence at the symbolical precept, they would acknowledge in meekness 
and candor that they suited the time then present. We do not covet what belongs to another, 
when we read in the Old Testament what "happened to them for examples, and was written 
for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come." It is surely not coveting 
when a man reads what is written for his benefit. 


305 



Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in... 


Book XI. 

Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in the incarnation, 
to which he earlier held. Augustin shows that the apostle was consistent with himself in 
the utterances quoted. 

1. Faustus said: Assuredly I believe the apostle. And yet I do not believe that the Son 

'inn 

of God was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, because I do not believe that 

God’s apostle could contradict himself, and have one opinion about our Lord at one time, 
and another at another. But, granting that he wrote this, — since you will not hear of anything 
being spurious in his writings, — it is not against us. For this seems to be Paul’s old belief 
about Jesus, when he thought, like everybody else, that Jesus was the son of David. After- 
wards, when he learned that this was false, he corrects himself; and in his Epistle to the 
Corinthians he says: "We know no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ 

in o 

after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." Observe the difference 
between these two verses. In one he asserts that Jesus was the son of David after the flesh; 
in the other he says that now he knows no man after the flesh. If Paul wrote both, it can 
only have been in the way I have stated. In the next verse he adds: "Therefore, if any man 
be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become 
new." The belief that Jesus was born of the seed of David according to the flesh is of this 
old transitory kind; whereas the faith which knows no man after the flesh is new and per- 
manent. So, he says elsewhere: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a 

in Q 

child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." We 
are thus warranted in preferring the new and amended confession of Paul to his old and 
faulty one. And if you hold by what is said in the Epistle to the Romans, why should not 
we hold by what is said to the Corinthians? But it is only by your insisting on the correctness 
of the text that we are made to represent Paul as building again the things which he destroyed, 
in spite of his own repudiation of such prevarication. If the verse is Paul’s, he has corrected 
himself. If Paul should not be supposed to have written anything requiring correction, the 
verse is not his. 

2. Augustin replied: As I said a little ago, when these men are beset by clear testimonies 
of Scripture, and cannot escape from their grasp, they declare that the passage is spurious. 
The declaration only shows their aversion to the truth, and their obstinacy in error. Unable 
to answer these statements of Scripture, they deny their genuineness. But if this answer is 
admitted, or allowed to have any weight, it will be useless to quote any book or any passage 


377 Rom. i. 3. 

378 2 Cor. v. 16. 

379 1 Cor. xiii. 11. 


306 


Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in... 


against your errors. It is one thing to reject the books themselves, and to profess no regard 
for their authority, as the Pagans reject our Scriptures, and the Jews the New Testament, 
and as we reject any books peculiar to your sect, or any other heretical sect, and also the 
apocryphal books, which are so called, not because of any mysterious regard paid to them, 
but because they are mysterious in their origin, and in the absence of clear evidence, have 
only some obscure presumption to rest upon; and it is another thing to say, This holy man 
wrote only the truth, and this is his epistle, but some verses are his, and some are not. And 
then, when you are asked for a proof, instead of referring to more correct or more ancient 
manuscripts, or to a greater number, or to the original text, your reply is, This verse is his, 
because it makes for me; and this is not his, because it is against me. Are you, then, the rule 
of truth? Can nothing be true that is against you? But what answer could you give to an 
opponent as insane as yourself, if he confronts you by saying, The passage in your favor is 
spurious, and that against you is genuine? Perhaps you will produce a book, all of which 
can be explained so as to support you. Then, instead of rejecting a passage, he will reply by 
condemning the whole book as spurious. You have no resource against such an opponent. 
For all the testimony you can bring in favor of your book from antiquity or tradition will 
avail nothing. In this respect the testimony of the Catholic Church is conspicuous, as sup- 
ported by a succession of bishops from the original seats of the apostles up to the present 
time, and by the consent of so many nations. Accordingly, should there be a question about 
the text of some passage, as there are a few passages with various readings well known to 
students of the sacred Scriptures, we should first consult the manuscripts of the country 
where the religion was first taught; and if these still varied, we should take the text of the 
greater number, or of the more ancient. And if any uncertainty remained, we should consult 
the original text. This is the method employed by those who, in any question about the 
Scriptures, do not lose sight of the regard due to their authority, and inquire with the view 
of gaining information, not of raising disputes. 380 

3. As regards the passage from Paul’s epistle which teaches, in opposition to your heresy, 
that the Son of God was born of the seed of David, it is found in all manuscripts both new 
and old of all Churches, and in all languages. So the profession which Faustus makes of 
believing the apostle is hypocritical. Instead of saying, "Assuredly I believe," he should have 
said, Assuredly I do not believe, as he would have said if he had not wished to deceive people. 
What part of his belief does he get from the apostle? Not the first man, of whom the apostle 
says that he is of the earth, earthy; and again, "The first man Adam was made a living soul." 
Faustus’ First Man is neither of the earth, earthy, nor made a living soul, but of the substance 
of God, and the same in essence as God; and this being is said to have mixed up with the 


380 [The extremely subjective method of dealing with Scripture which Augustin ascribes to Faustus, was 
characteristic of Manichaeism in general. — A.H.N.] 


307 



Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in... 


race of darkness his members, or vesture, or weapons, that is, the five elements, which also 
are part of the substance of God, so that they became subject to confinement and pollution. 
Nor does Faustus get from Paul his Second Man, of whom Paul says that He is from heaven, 
and that He is the last Adam, and a quickening spirit; and also that He was born of the seed 
of David after the flesh, that He was made of a woman, made under the law, that He might 

oo 1 

redeem them that were under the law. Of Him Paul says to Timothy: "Remember that 
Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my gospel." 
And this resurrection he quotes as an example of our resurrection: "I delivered unto you 
first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the 
Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the 
Scriptures." And a little further on he draws an inference from this doctrine: "Now, if Christ 
be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrec- 

o o O 

tion of the dead?" Our professed believer in Paul believes nothing of all this. He denies 
that Jesus was born of the seed of David, that He was made of a woman (by the word woman 
is not meant a wife in the common sense of the word, but merely one of the female sex, as 
in the book of Genesis, where it is said that God made a woman before she was brought to 
Adam ); he denies His death, His burial, and His resurrection. He holds that Christ had 
not a mortal body, and therefore could not really die; and that the marks of His wounds 
which He showed to His disciples when He appeared to them alive after His resurrection, 

ior 

which Paul also mentions, were not real. He denies, too, that our mortal body will be 
raised again, changed into a spiritual body; as Paul teaches: "It is sown a natural body, it is 
raised a spiritual body." To illustrate this distinction between the natural and the spiritual 
body, the apostle adds what I have quoted already about the first and the last Adam. Then 
he goes on: "But this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of 
God." And to explain what he means by flesh and blood, that it is not the bodily substance, 
but corruption, which will not enter into the resurrection of the just, he immediately says, 
"Neither shall corruption inherit incorruption." And in case any one should still suppose 
that it is not what is buried that is to rise again, but that it is as if one garment were laid aside 
and a better taken instead, he proceeds to show distinctly that the same body will be changed 
for the better, as the garments of Christ on the mount were not displaced, but transfigured: 

o Q/r 

"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all be changed, but we shall all rise." Then 


381 Gal. iv. 4, 5. 

382 2 Tim. ii. 8. 

383 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4, 12. 

384 Gen. ii. 22. 

385 1 Cor. xi. 5. 

386 Vulg. 


308 


Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in... 


he shows who are to be changed: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last 
trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise incorruptible, and we shall be 
changed." And if it should be said that it is not as regards our mortal and corruptible body, 
but as regards our soul, that we are to be changed, it should be observed that the apostle is 
not speaking of the soul, but of the body, as is evident from the question he starts with: "But 
some one will say, How are the dead raised, and with what body do they come?" So also, in 
the conclusion of his argument, he leaves no doubt of what he is speaking: "This corruptible 

-joy 

must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Faustus denies 
this; and the God whom Paul declares to be "immortal, incorruptible, to whom alone is 

ooo 

glory and honor," he makes corruptible. For in this monstrous and horrible fiction of 
theirs, the substance and nature of God was in danger of being wholly corrupted by the race 
of darkness, and to save the rest part actually was corrupted. And to crown all this, he tries 
to deceive the ignorant who are not learned in the sacred Scriptures, by making this profes- 
sion: I assuredly believe the Apostle Paul; when he ought to have said, I assuredly do not 
believe. 

4. But Faustus has a proof to show that Paul changed his mind, and, in writing to the 
Corinthians, corrected what he had written to the Romans; or else that he never wrote the 
passage which appears as his, about Jesus Christ being born of the seed of David according 
to the flesh. And what is this proof? If the passage, he says, in the Epistle to the Romans is 
true, "the Son of God, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh," what he 
says to the Corinthians cannot be true, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, 
though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." 
We must therefore show that both these passages are true, and not opposed to one another. 
The agreement of the manuscripts proves both to be genuine. In some Latin versions the 
word "born" 389 is used instead of "made," 390 which is not so literal a rendering, but gives 
the same meaning. For both these translations, as well as the original, teach that Christ was 
of the seed of David after the flesh. We must not for a moment suppose that Paul corrected 
himself on account of a change of opinion. Faustus himself felt the impropriety and impiety 
of such an explanation, and preferred to say that the passage was spurious, instead of that 
Paul was mistaken. 

5. As regards our writings, which are not a rule of faith or practice, but only a help to 
edification, we may suppose that they contain some things falling short of the truth in obscure 
and recondite matters, and that these mistakes may or may not be corrected in subsequent 


387 1 Cor. xv. 35-53. 

388 1 Tim. i. 17. 

389 Natus. 


390 


Factus. 


309 


Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in... 


treatises. For we are of those of whom the apostle says: "And if ye be otherwise minded, 
God shall reveal even this unto you." Such writings are read with the right of judgment, 

and without any obligation to believe. In order to leave room for such profitable discussions 
of difficult questions, there is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent 
to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. 
The authority of these books has come down to us from the apostles through the successions 
of bishops and the extension of the Church, and, from a position of lofty supremacy, claims 
the submission of every faithful and pious mind. If we are perplexed by an apparent contra- 
diction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, The author of this book is mistaken; but either 
the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood. In the 
innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth 
as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority. Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to 
itself. In other books the reader may form his own opinion, and perhaps, from not under- 
standing the writer, may differ from him, and may pronounce in favor of what pleases him, 
or against what he dislikes. In such cases, a man is at liberty to withhold his belief, unless 
there is some clear demonstration or some canonical authority to show that the doctrine or 
statement either must or may be true. But in consequence of the distinctive peculiarity of 
the sacred writings, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been 
said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist. Otherwise, not a single page will be left 
for the guidance of human fallibility, if contempt for the wholesome authority of the canon- 
ical books either puts an end to that authority altogether, or involves it in hopeless confu- 

392 

sion. 

6. With regard, then, to this apparent contradiction between the passage which speaks 
of the Son of God being of the seed of David, to the words, "Though we have known Christ 
after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more," even though both quotations 
were not from the writings of one apostle, — though one were from Paul, and the other from 
Peter, or Isaiah, or any other apostle or prophet, — such is the equality of canonical authority, 
that it would not be allowable to doubt of either. For the utterances of Scripture, harmonious 
as if from the mouth of one man, commend themselves to the belief of the most accurate 
and clear-sighted piety, and demand for their discovery and confirmation the calmest intel- 
ligence and the most ingenious research. In the case before us both quotations are from the 
canonical, that is, the genuine epistles of Paul. We cannot say that the manuscript is faulty, 
for the best Latin translations substantially agree; or that the translations are wrong, for the 
best texts have the same reading. So that, if any one is perplexed by the apparent contradic- 


391 Phil. iii. 15. 

392 [This is an excellent statement of the doctrine of Scriptural authority, that has been held to by Protestants 
with far more consistency than by Catholics. — A.H.N.] 


310 


Faustus quotes passages to show that the Apostle Paul abandoned belief in... 


tion, the only conclusion is that he does not understand. Accordingly it remains for me to 
explain how both passages, instead of being contradictory, may be harmonized by one rule 
of sound faith. The pious inquirer will find all perplexity removed by a careful examination. 

7. That the Son of God was made man of the seed of David, is not only said in other 
places by Paul, but is taught elsewhere in sacred Scripture. As regards the words, "Though 
we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more," the 
context shows what is the apostle’s meaning. Here, or elsewhere, he views with an assured 
hope, as if it were already present and in actual possession, our future life, which is now 
fulfilled in our risen Head and Mediator, the man Christ Jesus. This life will certainly not 
be after the flesh, even as Christ’s life is now not after the flesh. For by flesh the apostle here 
means not the substance of our bodies, in which sense the Lord used the word when, after 
His resurrection, He said, "Handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye 
see me have," but the corruption and mortality of flesh, which will then not be in us, as 
now it is not in Christ. The apostle uses the word flesh in the sense of corruption in the 
passage about the resurrection quoted before: "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom 
of God, neither shall corruption inherit incorruption." So, after the event described in the 
next verse, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed. 
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (for the trumpet shall sound); and 
the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must 
put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality," 394 — then flesh, in the sense 
of the substance of the body, will, after this change, no longer have flesh, in the sense of the 
corruption of mortality; and yet, as regards its own nature, it will be the same flesh, the same 
which rises and which is changed. What the Lord said after His resurrection is true, "Handle 
me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have;" and what the apostle 
says is true, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." The first is said of the 
bodily substance, which exists as the subject of the change: the second is said of the corrup- 
tion of the flesh, which will cease to exist, for, after its change, flesh will not be corrupted. 
So, "we have known Christ after the flesh," that is, after the mortality of flesh, before His 
resurrection; "now henceforth we know Him no more," because, as the same apostle says, 
"Christ being risen from the dead, dieth no more, and death hath no more dominion over 

one 

Him." The words, "we have known Christ after the flesh," strictly speaking, imply that 
Christ was after the flesh, for what never was cannot be known. And it is not "we have 
supposed," but "we have known." But not to insist on a word, in case some one should say 
that known is used in the sense of supposed, it is astonishing, if one could be surprised at 


393 Luke xxiv. 39. 

394 1 Cor. xv. 50-53. 


395 Rom. vi. 9. 


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want of sight in a blind man, that these blind people do not perceive that if what the apostle 
says about not knowing Christ after the flesh proves that Christ had not flesh, then what he 
says in the same place of not knowing any one henceforth after the flesh proves that all those 
here referred to had not flesh. For when he speaks of not knowing any one, he cannot intend 
to speak only of Christ; but in his realization of the future life with those who are to be 
changed at the resurrection, he says, "Henceforth we know no man after the flesh;" that is, 
we have such an assured hope of our future incorruption and immortality, that the thought 
of it makes us rejoice even now. So he says elsewhere: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek 
those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections 
upon things above, and not on things on the earth." It is true we have not yet risen as 
Christ has, but we are said to have risen with Him on account of the hope which we have 
in Him. So again he says: "According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regener- 
ation." Evidently what we obtain in the washing of regeneration is not the salvation itself, 

but the hope of it. And yet, because this hope is certain, we are said to be saved, as if the 
salvation were already bestowed. Elsewhere it is said explicitly: "We groan within ourselves, 
waiting for the adoption, even the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope. But 
hope which is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we 

OQO 

hope for what we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." The apostle says not, "we 
are to be saved," but, "We are now saved," that is, in hope, though not yet in reality. And in 
the same way it is in hope, though not yet in reality, that we now know no man after the 
flesh. This hope is in Christ, in whom what we hope for as promised to us has already been 
fulfilled. He is risen, and death has no more dominion over Him. Though we have known 
Him after the flesh, before His death, when there was in His body that mortality which the 
apostle properly calls flesh, now henceforth know we Him no more; for that mortal of His 
has now put on immortality, and His flesh, in the sense of mortality, no longer exists. 

8. The context of the passage containing this clause of which our adversaries make such 
a bad use, brings out its real meaning. "The love of Christ," we read, "constrains us, because 
we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that they which live 
should not henceforth live unto themselves, but to Him who died for them, and rose again. 
Therefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; and though we have known Christ 
after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." The words, "that they which 


396 Col. iii. 1, 2. 

397 Tit. iii. 5. 


398 Rom. viii. 23-25. 


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live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose 
again," show plainly that the resurrection of Christ is the ground of the apostle’s statement. 
To live not to themselves, but to Him, must mean to live not after the flesh, in the hope of 
earthly and perishable goods, but after the spirit, in the hope of resurrection, — a resurrection 
already accomplished in Christ. Of those, then, for whom Christ died and rose again, and 
who live henceforth not to themselves, but to Him, the Apostle says that he knows no one 
after the flesh, on account of the hope of future immortality to which they were looking 
forward, — a hope which in Christ was already a reality. So, though he has known Christ 
after the flesh, before His death, now he knows Him no more; for he knows that He has 
risen, and that death has no more dominion over Him. And because in Christ we all are 
even now in hope, though not in reality, what Christ is, he adds: "Therefore if any man be 
in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become 
new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Christ ." 399 What the 
new creature — that is, the people renewed by faith — hopes for regarding itself, it has already 
in Christ; and the hope will also hereafter be actually realized. And, as regards this hope, 
old things have passed away, because we are no longer in the times of the Old Testament, 
expecting a temporal and carnal kingdom of God; and all things are become new, making 
the promise of the kingdom of heaven, where there shall be no death or corruption, the 
ground of our confidence. But in the resurrection of the dead it will not be as a matter of 
hope, but in reality, that old things shall pass away, when the last enemy, death, shall be 
destroyed; and all things shall become new when this corruptible has put on incorruption, 
and this mortal has put on immortality. This has already taken place in Christ, whom Paul 
accordingly, in reality, knew no longer after the flesh. But not yet in reality, but only in 
hope, did he know no one after the flesh of those for whom Christ died and rose again. For, 
as he says to the Ephesians, we are already saved by grace. The whole passage is to the 
purpose: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even 
when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by whose grace we have 
been saved." The words, "hath quickened us together with Christ," correspond to what he 
said to the Corinthians, "that they which live should no longer live to themselves, but to 
Him that died for them and rose again." And in the words, "by whose grace we have been 
saved," he speaks of the thing hoped for as already accomplished. So, in the passage quoted 
above, he says explicitly, "We have been saved by hope." And here he proceeds to specify 
future events as if already accomplished. "And has raised us up together," he says, "and has 
made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Christ is certainly already seated 
in heavenly places, but we not yet. But as in an assured hope we already possess the future, 
he says that we sit in heavenly places, not in ourselves, but in Him. And to show that it is 


399 2 Cor. v. 14-18. 


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still future, in case it should be thought that what is spoken of as accomplished in hope has 
been accomplished in reality, he adds, "that He might show in the ages to come the exceeding 
riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus ." 400 So also we must under- 
stand the following passage: "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which 
were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death ." 401 He says, 
"when we were in the flesh," as if they were no longer in the flesh. He means to say, when 
we were in the hope of fleshly things, referring to the time when the law, which can be fulfilled 
only by spiritual love, was in force, in order that by transgression the offence might abound, 
that after the revelation of the New Testament, grace and the gift by grace might much more 
abound. And to the same effect he says elsewhere, "They which are in the flesh cannot please 
God;" and then, to show that he does not mean those not yet dead, he adds, "But ye are not 
in the flesh, but in the Spirit ." 402 The meaning is, those who are in the hope of fleshly good 
cannot please God; but you are not in the hope of fleshly things, but in the hope of spiritual 
things, that is, of the kingdom of heaven, where the body itself, which now is natural, will, 
by the change in the resurrection, be, according to the capacity of its nature, a spiritual 
body. For "it is sown a natural body, it will be raised a spiritual body.” If, then, the apostle 
knew no one after the flesh of those who were said to be not in the flesh, because they were 
not in the hope of fleshly things, although they still were burdened with corruptible and 
mortal flesh; how much more significantly could he say of Christ that he no longer knew 
Him after the flesh, seeing that in the body of Christ what they hoped for had already been 
accomplished! Surely it is better and more reverential to examine the passages of sacred 
Scripture so as to discover their agreement with one another, than to accept some as true, 
and condemn others as false, whenever any difficulty occurs beyond the power of our weak 
intellect to solve. As to the apostle in his childhood understanding as a child, this is said 
merely as an illustration . 403 And when he was a child he was not a spiritual man, as he was 
when he produced for the edification of the churches those writings which are not, as other 
books, merely a profitable study, but which authoritatively claim our belief as part of the 
ecclesiastical canon. 


400 Eph. ii. 4-7. 

401 Rom. vii. 5. 

402 Rom. viii. 8, 9. 
1 Cor. xiii. 11. 


403 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


Book XII. 

Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such prediction from the 

New Testament, and expounds at length the principal types of Christ in the Old Testament. 

1. Faustus said: Why do I not believe the prophets? Rather why do you believe them? 
On account, you will reply, of their prophecies about Christ. For my part, I have read the 
prophets with the most eager attention, and have found no such prophecies. And surely it 
shows a weak faith not to believe in Christ without proofs and testimonies. Indeed, you 
yourselves are accustomed to teach that Christian faith is so simple and absolute as not to 
admit of laborious investigations. Why, then, should you destroy the simplicity of faith by 
buttressing it with evidences, and Jewish evidences too? Or if you are changing your opinion 
about evidences, what more trustworthy witness could you have than God Himself testifying 
to His own Son when He sent Him on earth, — not by a prophet or an interpreter, — by a 
voice immediately from heaven: "This is my beloved Son, believe Him?" 404 And again He 
testifies of Himself: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world;" 405 and in 
many similar passages. When the Jews quarrelled with this testimony, saying "Thou bearest 
witness of thyself, thy witness is not true," He replied: "Although I bear witness of myself, 
my witness is true. It is written in your law, The witness of two men is true. I am one that 
bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me beareth witness of me." 406 He does not 
mention the prophets. Again He appeals to the testimony of His own works, saying, "If ye 
believe not me, believe the works;" 407 not, "If ye believe not me, believe the prophets." Ac- 
cordingly we require no testimonies concerning our Saviour. All we look for in the prophets 
is prudence and virtue, and a good example, which, you are well aware, are not to be found 
in the Jewish prophets. This, no doubt, explains your referring me at once to their predictions 
as a reason for believing them, without a word about their actions. This may be good policy, 
but it is not in harmony with the declaration of Scripture, that it is impossible to gather 
grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles. This may serve meanwhile as a brief and sufficient 
reply to the question, why we do not believe the prophets. The fact that they did not 
prophesy of Christ is abundantly proved in the writings of our fathers. I shall only add this, 
that if the Hebrew prophets knew and preached Christ, and yet lived such vicious lives, what 
Paul says of the wise men among the Gentiles might be applied to them: "Though they knew 
God, they glorified Him not as God, nor were thankful; but they became vain in their ima- 


404 Matt. iii. 17. 

405 John xvi. 28. 

406 John viii. 13-18. 
John x. 38. 


407 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


ginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." 408 You see the knowledge of great things 
is worth little, unless the life corresponds. 

2. Augustin replied: The meaning of all this is, that the Hebrew prophets foretold 
nothing of Christ, and that, if they did, their predictions are of no use to us, and they 
themselves did not live suitably to the dignity of such prophecies. We must therefore prove 
the fact of the prophecies; and their use for the truth and steadfastness of our faith; and that 
the lives of the prophets were in harmony with their words. In this threefold discussion, it 
would take a long time under the first head to quote from all the books the passages in which 
Christ may be shown to have been predicted. Faustus’ frivolity may be met effectually by 
the weight of one great authority. Although Faustus does not believe the prophets, he pro- 
fesses to believe the apostles. Above, as if to satisfy the doubts of some opponent, he declares 
that he assuredly believes the Apostle Paul 409 Let us then hear what Paul says of the 
prophets. His words are: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated 
unto the gospel of God, which He had promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 
concerning His Son, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." 410 What 
more does Faustus wish? Will he maintain that the apostle is speaking of some other 
prophets, and not of the Hebrew prophets? In any case, the gospel spoken of as promised 
was concerning the Son of God, who was made for Him of the seed of David according to 
the flesh: and to this gospel the apostle says that he was separated. So that the Manichaean 
heresy is opposed to faith in the gospel, which teaches that the Son of God was made of the 
seed of David according to the flesh. Besides, there are many passages where the apostle 
plainly testifies in behalf of the Hebrew prophets, with an authority by which the necks of 
these proud Manichaeans are broken. 

3. "I speak the truth in Christ," says the apostle, "I lie not, my conscience bearing me 
witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart. For 
I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according 
to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the 
covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service and the promises; whose are the fathers, 
and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." 411 
Here is the most abundant and express testimony and the most solemn commendation. 
The adoption here spoken of is evidently through the Son of God; as the apostle says to the 
Galatians: "In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under 
the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the ad- 


408 Rom. i. 21. 

409 Lib. xi. 

410 Rom. i. 1-3. 


411 


Rom. ix. 1-5. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


option of sons." 412 And the glory spoken of is chiefly that of which he says in the same 
Epistle to the Romans: "What advantage hath the Jew? or what profit is there in circum- 
cision? Much every way: chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles of God." 413 
Can the Manichaeans tell us of any oracles of God committed to the Jews besides those of 
the Hebrew prophets? And why are the covenants said to belong especially to the Israelites, 
but because not only was the Old Testament given to them, but also the New was prefigured 
in the Old? Our opponents often display much ignorant ferocity in attacking the dispensation 
of the law given to the Israelites, not understanding that God wishes us to be not under the 
law, but under grace. They are here answered by the apostle himself, who, in speaking of 
the advantages of the Jews, mentions this as one, that they had the giving of the law. If the 
law had been bad, the apostle would not have referred to it in praise of the Jews. And if 
Christ had not been preached by the law, the Lord Himself would not have said, "If ye believe 
Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me;" 414 nor would He have borne the 
testimony He did after His resurrection, saying, "All things must needs be fulfilled that were 
written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me." 415 

4. But because the Manichaeans preach another Christ, and not Him whom the apostles 
preached, but a false Christ of their own false contrivance, in imitation of whose falsehood 
they themselves speak lies, though they may perhaps be believed when they are not ashamed 
to profess to be the followers of a deceiver, that has befallen them which the apostle asserts 
of the unbelieving Jews: "When Moses is read, a veil is upon their heart." Neither will this 
veil which keeps them from understanding Moses be taken away from them till they turn 
to Christ; not a Christ of their own making, but the Christ of the Hebrew prophets. For, as 
the apostle says, "When thou shalt turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." 416 We 
cannot wonder that they do not believe in the Christ who rose from the dead, and who said, 
"All things must needs be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the 
prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me;" for this Christ has Himself told us what Abra- 
ham said to a hard-hearted rich man when he was in torment in hell, and asked Abraham 
to send some one to his brothers to teach them, that they might not come too into that place 
of torment. Abraham’s reply was: "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them." 
And when the rich man said that they would not believe unless some one rose from the 
dead, he received this most truthful answer: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, 
neither will they believe even though one rose from the dead." 417 Wherefore, the Manichaeans 


412 Gal. iv. 4, 5. 

413 Rom. iii. 1,2. 

414 John v. 46. 

415 Lukexxiv. 44. 

416 2 Cor. iii. 15, 16. 

417 Luke xvi. 27-31. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


will not hear Moses and the prophets, and so they do not believe Christ, though He rose 
from the dead. Indeed, they do not even believe that Christ rose from the dead. For how 
can they believe that He rose, when they do not believe that He died? For, again, how can 
they believe that He died, when they deny that He had a mortal body? 

5. But we reject those false teachers whose Christ is false, or rather, whose Christ never 
existed. For we have a Christ true and truthful, foretold by the prophets, preached by the 
apostles, who in innumerable places refer to the testimonies of the law and the prophets in 
support of their preaching. Paul, in one short sentence, gives the right view of this subject. 
"Now," he says, "the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed 
by the law and the prophets." What prophets, if not of Israel, to whom, as he expressly 
says, pertain the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the promises? And what promises, 
but about Christ? Elsewhere, speaking of Christ, he says concisely: "All the promises of 
God are in Him yea." 419 Paul tells me that the giving of the law pertained to the Israelites. 
He also tells me that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 
He also tells me that all the promises of God are in Christ yea. And you tell me that the 
prophets of Israel foretold nothing of Christ. Shall I believe the absurdities of Manichaeus 
relating a vain and long fable in opposition to Paul? or shall I believe Paul when he forewarns 
us: "If any man preach to you another gospel than that which we have preached, let him be 
accursed?" 

6. Our opponents may perhaps ask us to point out passages where Christ is predicted 
by the prophets of Israel. One would think they might be satisfied with the authority of the 
apostles, who declare that what we read in the writings of the Hebrew prophets was fulfilled 
in Christ, or with that of Christ Himself, who says that these things were written of Him. 
Whoever is unable to point out the passages should lay the blame on his own ignorance; 
for the apostles and Christ and the sacred Scriptures are not chargeable with falsehood. 
However, one instance out of many may be adduced. The apostle, in the verses following 
the passage quoted above, says: "The word of God cannot fail. For they are not all Israel 
which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: 
but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these 
are not the children of God; but the children of promise are counted for the seed." 420 What 
can our opponent say against this, in view of the declaration made to Abraham: "In thy 
seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed?" At the time when the apostle gave the 
following exposition of this promise, "T o Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. 
He saith not, To seed, as of many, but as of one, To thy seed, which is Christ," 421 a doubt 


418 Rom. iii. 21. 

419 2 Cor. i. 20. 

420 Rom. ix. 6-8. 
Gal. iii. 16. 


421 


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on this point might then have been less inexcusable, for at that time all nations had not yet 
believed on Christ, who is preached as of the seed of Abraham. But now that we see the 
fulfillment of what we read in the ancient prophecy, — now that all nations are actually 
blessed in the seed of Abraham, to whom it was said thousands of years ago, "In thy seed 
shall all nations be blessed," — it is mere obstinate folly to try to bring in another Christ, not 
of the seed of Abraham, or to hold that there are no predictions of Christ in the prophetical 
books of the children of Abraham. 

7. To enumerate all the passages in the Hebrew prophets referring to our Lord and Sa- 
viour Jesus Christ, would exceed the limits of a volume, not to speak of the brief replies of 
which this treatise consists. The whole contents of these Scriptures are either directly or 
indirectly about Christ. Often the reference is allegorical or enigmatical, perhaps in a verbal 
allusion, or in a historical narrative, requiring diligence in the student, and rewarding him 
with the pleasure of discovery. Other passages, again, are plain; for, without the help of 
what is clear, we could not understand what is obscure. And even the figurative passages, 
when brought together, will be found so harmonious in their testimony to Christ as to put 
to shame the obtuseness of the sceptic. 

8. In the creation God finished His works in six days, and rested on the seventh. The 

history of the world contains six periods marked by the dealings of God with men. The first 
period is from Adam to Noah; the second, from Noah to Abraham; the third, from Abraham 
to David; the fourth, from David to the captivity in Babylon; the fifth, from the captivity to 
the advent of lowliness of our Lord Jesus Christ; the sixth is now in progress, and will end 
in the coming of the exalted Saviour to judgment. What answers to the seventh day is the 
rest of the saints, — not in this life, but in another, where the rich man saw Lazarus at rest 
while he was tormented in hell; where there is no evening, because there is no decay. On 
the sixth day, in Genesis, man is formed after the image of God; in the sixth period of the 
world there is the clear discovery of our transformation in the renewing of our mind, accord- 
ing to the image of Him who created us, as the apostle says. As a wife was made for Adam 

from his side while he slept, the Church becomes the property of her dying Saviour, by the 
sacrament of the blood which flowed from His side after His death. The woman made out 
of her husband’s side is called Eve, or Life, and the mother of living beings; and the Lord 

49 ^ 

says in the Gospel: "Except a man eat my flesh and drink my blood, he has no life in him." 

The whole narrative of Genesis, in the most minute details, is a prophecy of Christ and of 
the Church with reference either to the good Christians or to the bad. There is a significance 
in the words of the apostle when he calls Adam "the figure of Him that was to come;" 424 


422 Col. iii. 10. 

423 John vi. 53. 

424 Rom. v. 14. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


and when he says, "A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and 
they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the 
Church." 425 This points most obviously to the way in which Christ left His Father; for 
"though He was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, He 
emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant." 426 And so, too, He left His 
mother, the synagogue of the Jews which cleaved to the carnality of the Old Testament, and 
was united to the Church His holy bride, that in the peace of the New Testament they two 
might be one flesh. For though with the Father He was God, by whom we were made, He 
became in the flesh partaker of our nature, that we might become the body of which He is 
the head. 

9. As Cain’s sacrifice of the fruit of the ground is rejected, while Abel’s sacrifice of his 
sheep and the fat thereof is accepted, so the faith of the New Testament praising God in the 
harmless service of grace is preferred to the earthly observances of the Old Testament. For 
though the Jews were right in practising these things, they were guilty of unbelief in not 
distinguishing the time of the New Testament when Christ came, from the time of the Old 
Testament. God said to Cain, "If thou offerest well, yet if thou dividest not well, thou hast 
sinned." If Cain had obeyed God when He said, "Be content, for to thee shall be its refer- 

ence, and thou shalt rule over it," he would have referred his sin to himself, by taking the 
blame of it, and confessing it to God; and so assisted by supplies of grace, he would have 
ruled over his sin, instead of acting as the servant of sin in killing his innocent brother. So 
also the Jews, of whom all these things are a figure, if they had been content, instead of being 
turbulent, and had acknowledged the time of salvation through the pardon of sins by grace, 
and heard Christ saying, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; 
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance;" and, "Every one that commit - 
teth sin is the servant of sin;" and, "If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed," 429 — they 
would in confession have referred their sin to themselves, saying to the Physician, as it is 
written in the Psalm, "I said, Lord, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against 
Thee." 430 And being made free by the hope of grace, they would have ruled over sin as long 
as it continued in their mortal body. But now, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and 
wishing to establish a righteousness of their own, proud of the works of the law, instead of 
being humbled on account of their sins, they have not been content; and in subjection to 


425 Eph.v. 31, 32. 

426 Phil. ii. 6, 7. 

427 Vulg. 

428 Matt. ix. 12, 13. 

429 John viii. 34, 36. 

430 Ps. xli. 4. 


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sin reigning in their mortal body, so as to make them obey it in the lusts thereof, they have 
stumbled on the stone of stumbling, and have been inflamed with hatred against him whose 
works they grieved to see accepted by God. The man who was born blind, and had been 
made to see, said to them, "We know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man serve 
Him, and do His will, him He heareth;" 431 as if he had said, God regardeth not the sacrifice 
of Cain, but he regards the sacrifice of Abel. Abel, the younger brother, is killed by the elder 
brother; Christ, the head of the younger people, is killed by the elder people of the Jews. 
Abel dies in the field; Christ dies on Calvary. 

10. God asks Cain where his brother is, not as if He did not know, but as a judge asks 
a guilty criminal. Cain replies that he knows not, and that he is not his brother’s keeper. 
And what answer can the Jews give at this day, when we ask them with the voice of God, 
that is, of the sacred Scriptures, about Christ, except that they do not know the Christ that 
we speak of? Cain’s ignorance was pretended, and the Jews are deceived in their refusal of 
Christ. Moreover, they would have been in a sense keepers of Christ, if they had been willing 
to receive and keep the Christian faith. For the man who keeps Christ in his heart does not 
ask, like Cain, Am I my brother’s keeper? Then God says to Cain, "What hast thou done? 
The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground." So the voice of God in 
the Holy Scriptures accuses the Jews. For the blood of Christ has a loud voice on the earth, 
when the responsive Amen of those who believe in Him comes from all nations. This is the 
voice of Christ’s blood, because the clear voice of the faithful redeemed by His blood is the 
voice of the blood itself. 

11. Then God says to Cain: "Thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened its 
mouth to receive thy brother’s blood at thy hand. For thou shalt till the earth, and it shall 
no longer yield unto thee its strength. A mourner and an abject shalt thou be on the earth." 
It is not, Cursed is the earth, but, Cursed art thou from the earth, which hath opened its 
mouth to receive thy brother’s blood at thy hand. So the unbelieving people of the Jews is 
cursed from the earth, that is, from the Church, which in the confession of sins has opened 
its mouth to receive the blood shed for the remission of sins by the hand of the people that 
would not be under grace, but under the law. And this murderer is cursed by the Church; 
that is, the Church admits and avows the curse pronounced by the apostle: "Whoever are 

A'X'l 

of the works of the law are under the curse of the law." Then, after saying, Cursed art 
thou from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive thy brother’s blood at thy hand, 
what follows is not, For thou shalt till it, but, Thou shalt till the earth, and it shall not yield 
to thee its strength. The earth he is to till is not necessarily the same as that which opened 
its mouth to receive his brother’s blood at his hand. From this earth he is cursed, and so he 


431 John ix. 31. 

432 Gal. iii. 10. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


tills an earth which shall no longer yield to him its strength. That is, the Church admits and 
avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue to till the 
ground of an earthly circumcision, an earthly Sabbath, an earthly passover, while the hidden 
strength or virtue of making known Christ, which this tilling contains, is not yielded to the 
Jews while they continue in impiety and unbelief, for it is revealed in the New Testament. 
While they will not turn to God, the veil which is on their minds in reading the Old Testament 
is not taken away. This veil is taken away only by Christ, who does not do away with the 
reading of the Old Testament, but with the covering which hides its virtue. So, at the cruci- 
fixion of Christ, the veil was rent in twain, that by the passion of Christ hidden mysteries 
might be revealed to believers who turn to Him with a mouth opened in confession to drink 
His blood. In this way the Jewish people, like Cain, continue tilling the ground, in the carnal 
observance of the law, which does not yield to them its strength, because they do not perceive 
in it the grace of Christ. So too, the flesh of Christ was the ground from which by crucifying 
Him the Jews produced our salvation, for He died for our offences. But this ground did not 
yield to them its strength, for they were not justified by the virtue of His resurrection, for 
He arose again for our justification. As the apostle says: "He was crucified in weakness, but 
He liveth by the power of God." ' This is the power of that ground which is unknown to 
the ungodly and unbelieving. When Christ rose, He did not appear to those who had cruci- 
fied Him. So Cain was not allowed to see the strength of the ground which he tilled to sow 
his seed in it; as God said, "Thou shaft till the ground, and it shall no longer yield unto thee 
its strength." 

12. "Groaning and trembling shaft thou be on the earth." Here no one can fail to see 
that in every land where the Jews are scattered they mourn for the loss of their kingdom, 
and are in terrified subjection to the immensely superior number of Christians. So Cain 
answered, and said: "My case is worse, if Thou drivest me out this day from the face of the 
earth, and from Thy face shall I be hid, and I shall be a mourner and an outcast on the earth; 
and it shall be that every one that findeth me shall slay me." Here he groans indeed in terror, 
lest after losing his earthly possession he should suffer the death of the body. This he calls 
a worse case than that of the ground not yielding to him its strength, or than that of spiritual 
death. For his mind is carnal; for he thinks little of being hid from the face of God, that is, 
of being under the anger of God, were it not that he may be found and slain. This is the 
carnal mind that tills the ground, but does not obtain its strength. To be carnally minded 
is death; but he, in ignorance of this, mourns for the loss of his earthly possession, and is in 
terror of bodily death. But what does God reply? "Not so," He says; "but whosoever shall 
kill Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." That is, It is not as thou sayest; not 
by bodily death shall the ungodly race of carnal Jews perish. For whoever destroys them in 


433 2 Cor. xiii. 4. 


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this way shall suffer sevenfold vengeance, that is, shall bring upon himself the sevenfold 
penalty under which the Jews he for the crucifixion of Christ. So to the end of the seven 
days of time, the continued preservation of the Jews will be a proof to believing Christians 
of the subjection merited by those who, in the pride of their kingdom, put the Lord to death. 

13. "And the Lord God set a mark upon Cain, lest any one finding him should slay 
him." It is a most notable fact, that all the nations subjugated by Rome adopted the heathen- 
ish ceremonies of the Roman worship; while the Jewish nation, whether under Pagan or 
Christian monarchs, has never lost the sign of their law, by which they are distinguished 
from all other nations and peoples. No emperor or monarch who finds under his government 
the people with this mark kills them, that is, makes them cease to be Jews, and as Jews to be 
separate in their observances, and unlike the rest of the world. Only when a Jew comes over 
to Christ, he is no longer Cain, nor goes out from the presence of God, nor dwells in the 
land of Nod, which is said to mean commotion. Against this evil of commotion the 
Psalmist prays, "Suffer not my feet to be moved;" 434 and again, "Let not the hands of the 
wicked remove me;" 435 and, "Those that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved:" 436 and, 

A'X'7 

"The Lord is at my right hand, that I should not be moved;" and so in innumerable places. 

This evil comes upon those who leave the presence of God, that is, His loving-kindness. 
Thus the Psalmist says, "I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved." But observe what 
follows, "Lord, by Thy favor Thou hast given strength to my honor; Thou didst hide Thy 

A O O 

face, and I was troubled;" which teaches us that not in itself, but by participation in the 
light of God, can any soul possess beauty, or honor, or strength. The Manichaeans should 
think of this, to keep them from the blasphemy of identifying themselves with the nature 
and substance of God. But they cannot think, because they are not content. The Sabbath 
of the heart they are strangers to. If they were content, as Cain was told to be, they would 
refer their sin to themselves; that is, they would lay the blame on themselves, and not on a 
race of darkness that no one ever heard of, and so by the grace of God they would prevail 
over their sin. But now the Manichaeans, and all who oppose the truth by their various 
heresies, leave the presence of God, like Cain and the scattered Jews, and inhabit the land 
of commotion, that is, of carnal disquietude, instead of the enjoyment of God, that is instead 
of Eden, which is interpreted Feasting, where Paradise was planted. But not to depart too 
much from the argument of this treatise I must limit myself to a few, short remarks under 
this head. 


434 Ps. lxvi. 9. 

435 Ps.xxxvi.il. 

436 Ps. xiii. 4. 

437 Ps. xvi. 8. 

Ps. xxx. 6, 7. 


438 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


14. Omitting therefore many passages in these Books where Christ may be found, but 
which require longer explanation and proof, although the most hidden meanings are the 
sweetest, convincing testimony may be obtained from the enumeration of such things as 
the following: — That Enoch, the seventh from Adam, pleased God, and was translated, as 
there is to be a seventh day of rest into which all will be translated who, during the sixth day 
of the world’s history, are created anew by the incarnate Word. That Noah, with his family 
is saved by water and wood, as the family of Christ is saved by baptism, as representing the 
suffering of the cross. That this ark is made of beams formed in a square, as the Church is 
constructed of saints prepared unto every good work: for a square stands firm on any side. 
That the length is six times the breadth, and ten times the height, like a human body, to 
show that Christ appeared in a human body. That the breadth reaches to fifty cubits; as the 
apostle says, "Our heart is enlarged," 439 that is, with spiritual love, of which he says again, 
"The love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us." 440 
For in the fiftieth day after His resurrection, Christ sent His Holy Spirit to enlarge the hearts 
of His disciples. That it is three hundred cubits long, to make up six times fifty; as there are 
six periods in the history of the world during which Christ has never ceased to be 
preached, — in five foretold by the prophets, and in the sixth proclaimed in the gospel. That 
it is thirty cubits high, a tenth part of the length; because Christ is our height, who in his 
thirtieth year gave His sanction to the doctrine of the gospel, by declaring that He came not 
to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. Now the ten commandments are to be the heart of the 
law; and so the length of the ark is ten times thirty. Noah himself, too, was the tenth from 
Adam. That the beams of the ark are fastened within and without with pitch, to signify by 
compact union the forbearance of love, which keeps the brotherly connection from being 
impaired, and the bond of peace from being broken by the offences which try the Church 
either from without or from within. For pitch is a glutinous substance, of great energy and 
force, to represent the ardor of love which, with great power of endurance, beareth all things 
in the maintenance of spiritual communion. 

15. That all kinds of animals are inclosed in the ark; as the Church contains all nations, 
which was also set forth in the vessel shown to Peter. That clean and unclean animals are 
in the ark; as good and bad take part in the sacraments of the Church. That the clean are 
in sevens, and the unclean in twos; not because the bad are fewer than the good, but because 
the good preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; and the Spirit is spoken of in 
Scripture as having a sevenfold operation, as being "the Holy Spirit of wisdom and under- 
standing, of counsel and might, of knowledge and piety, and of the fear of God." 441 So also 


439 2 Cor. vi. 11. 

440 Rom. v. 5. 

441 Isa. xi. 2, 3. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


the number fifty, which is connected with the advent of the Holy Spirit, is made up of seven 
times seven, and one over; whence it is said, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in 
the bond of peace." 442 The bad, again, are in twos, as being easily divided, from their tend- 
ency to schism. That Noah, counting his family, was the eighth; because the hope of our 
resurrection has appeared in Christ, who rose from the dead on the eighth day, that is, on 
the day after the seventh, or Sabbath day. This day was the third from His passion; but in 
the ordinary reckoning of days, it is both the eighth and the first. 

16. That the whole ark together is finished in a cubit above; as the Church, the body of 
Christ gathered into unity, is raised to perfection. So Christ says in the Gospel: "He that 
gathereth not with me, scattereth." 443 That the entrance is on the side; as no man enters 
the Church except by the sacrament of the remission of sins which flowed from Christ’s 
opened side. That the lower spaces of the ark are divided into two and three chambers: as 
the multitude of all nations in the Church is divided into two, as circumcised and uncircum- 
cised; or into three, as descended from the three sons of Noah. And these parts of the ark 
are called lower, because in this earthly state there is a difference of races, and above we are 
completed in one. Above there is no diversity; for Christ is all and in all, finishing us, as it 
were, in one cubit above with heavenly unity. 

17. That the flood came seven days after Noah entered the ark; as we are baptized in 
the hope of the future rest, which was denoted by the seventh day. That all flesh on the face 
of the earth, outside the ark, was destroyed by the flood; as, beyond the communion of the 
Church, though the water of baptism is the same, it is efficacious only for destruction, and 
not for salvation. That it rained for forty days and forty nights; as the sacrament of heavenly 
baptism washes away all the guilt of the sins against the ten commandments throughout all 
the four quarters of the world (four times ten is forty), whether that guilt has been contracted 
in the day of prosperity or in the night of adversity. 

18. That Noah was five hundred years old when God told him to make the ark, and six 
hundred when he entered the ark; which shows that the ark was made during one hundred 
years, which seem to correspond to the years of an age of the world. So the sixth age is oc- 
cupied with the construction of the Church by the preaching of the gospel. The man who 
avails himself of the offer of salvation is made like a square beam, fitted for every good work, 
and forms part of the sacred fabric. Again, it was the second month of the six hundredth 
year when Noah entered the ark, and in two months there are sixty days; so that here, as in 
every multiple of six, we have the number denoting the sixth age. 

19. That mention is made of the twenty seventh day of the month; as we have already 
seen the significance of the square in the beams. Here especially it is significant; for as 


442 Eph. iv. 3. 

443 Matt. xii. 30. 


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twenty-seven is the cube of three, there is a trinity in the means by which we are, as it were, 
squared, or fitted for every good work. By the memory we remember God; by the under- 
standing we know Him; by the will we love Him. That in the seventh month the ark rested; 
reminding us again of the seventh day of rest. And here again, to denote the perfection of 
those at rest, the twenty-seventh day of the month is mentioned for the second time. So 
what is promised in hope is realized in experience. There is here a combination of seven 
and eight; for the water rose fifteen cubits above the mountains, pointing to a profound 
mystery in baptism, — the sacrament of our regeneration. For the seventh day of rest is 
connected with the eighth of resurrection. For when the saints receive again their bodies 
after the rest of the intermediate state, the rest will not cease; but rather the whole man, 
body and soul united, renewed in the immortal health, will attain to the realization of his 
hope in the enjoyment of eternal life. Thus the sacrament of baptism, like the waters of 
Noah, rises above all the wisdom of the proud. Seven and eight are also combined in the 
number of one hundred and fifty, made up of seventy and eighty, which was the number 
of days during which the water prevailed, pointing out the deep import of baptism in con- 
secrating the new man to hold the faith of rest and resurrection. 

20. That the raven sent out after forty days did not return, being either prevented by 
the water or attracted by some floating carcase; as men defiled by impure desire, and 
therefore eager for things outside in the world, are either baptized, or are led astray into the 
company of those to whom, as they are outside the ark, that is, outside the Church, baptism 
is destructive. That the dove when sent forth found no rest, and returned; as in the New 
Testament rest is not promised to the saints in this world. The dove was sent forth after 
forty days, a period denoting the length of human life. When again sent forth after seven 
days, denoting the sevenfold operation of the Spirit, the dove brought back a fruitful olive 
branch; as some even who are baptized outside of the Church, if not destitute of the fatness 
of charity, may come after all, as it were in the evening, and be brought into the one com- 
munion by the mouth of the dove in the kiss of peace. That, when again sent forth after 
seven days, the dove did not return; as, at the end of the world, the rest of the saints shall 
no longer be in the sacrament of hope, as now, while in the communion of the Church, they 
drink what flowed from the side of Christ, but in the perfection of eternal safety, when the 
kingdom shall be delivered up to God and the Father, and when, in that unclouded contem- 
plation of unchangeable truth, we shall no longer need natural symbols. 

21. There are many other points which we cannot take notice of even in this cursory 
manner. Why in the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life — that is, after six hundred 
years were completed — the covering of the ark is removed, and the hidden mystery, as it 
were, disclosed. Why the earth is said to have dried on the twenty-seventh day of the second 
month; as if the number fifty-seven denoted the completion of the rite of baptism. For the 
twenty- seventh day of the second month is the fifty-seventh day of the year; and the number 


326 



Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


fifty-seven is seven times eight, which are the numbers of the spirit and the body, with one 
over, to denote the bond of unity. Why they leave the ark together, though they entered 
separately. For it is said: "Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with 
him, into the ark;" the men and the women being spoken of separately; which denotes the 
time when the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. But they go 
forth, Noah and his wife, and his sons and their wives, — the men and women together. For 
in the end of the world, and in the resurrection of the just, the body will be united to the 
spirit in perfect harmony, undisturbed by the wants and the passions of mortality. Why, 
after leaving the ark, only clean animals are offered in sacrifice to God, though both clean 
and unclean were in the ark. 

22. Then, again, it is significant that when God speaks to Noah, and begins anew, as it 
were, in order, by repetition in various forms, to draw attention to the figure of the Church, 
the sons of Noah are blessed, and told to replenish the earth, and all animals are given to 
them for food; as was said to Peter of the vessel, "Kill and eat." That they are told to pour 
out the blood when they eat; that the former life may not be kept shut up in the conscience, 
but may be, as it were, poured out in confession. That God makes the bow, which appears 
in the clouds only when the sun shines, the sign of His covenant with men, and with every 
living thing, that He will not destroy them with a flood; as those do not perish by the flood, 
in separation from the Church, who in the clouds of God — that is, in the prophets and in 
all the sacred Scriptures — discern the glory of Christ, instead of seeking their own glory. 
The worshippers of the sun, however, need not pride themselves on this; for they must un- 
derstand that the sun, as also a lion, a lamb, and a stone, are used as types of Christ because 
they have some resemblance, not because they are of the same substance. 

23. Again, the sufferings of Christ from His own nation are evidently denoted by Noah 
being drunk with the wine of the vineyard he planted, and his being uncovered in his tent. 
For the mortality of Christ’s flesh was uncovered, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the 
Greeks foolishness; but to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, both Shem and 
Japhet, the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser 
than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 444 

Moreover, the two sons, the eldest and the youngest, carrying the garment backwards, 
are a figure of the two peoples, and the sacrament of the past and completed passions of the 
Lord. They do not see the nakedness of their father, because they do not consent to Christ’s 
death; and yet they honor it with a covering, as knowing whence they were born. The middle 
son is the Jewish people, for they neither held the first place with the apostles, nor believed 
subsequently with the Gentiles. They saw the nakedness of their father, because they con- 
sented to Christ’s death; and they told it to their brethren outside, for what was hidden in 


444 1 Cor. i. 23-25. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


the prophets was disclosed by the Jews. And thus they are the servants of their brethren. 
For what else is this nation now but a desk for the Christians, bearing the law and the 
prophets, and testifying to the doctrine of the Church, so that we honor in the sacrament 
what they disclose in the letter? 

24. Again, every one must be impressed, and be either enlightened or confirmed in the 
faith, by the blessing of the two sons who honored the nakedness of their father, though 
they turned away their faces, as displeased with the evil done by the vine. "Blessed,' 1 he says, 
"be the Lord God of Shem." For although God is the God of all nations, even the Gentiles 
acknowledge Him to be in a peculiar sense the God of Israel. And how is this to be explained 
but by the blessing of Japhet? The occupation of all the world by the Church among the 
Gentiles was exactly foretold in the words: "Let God enlarge Japhet, and let him dwell in 
the tents of Shem." That is for the Manichaean to attend to. You see what the state of the 
world actually is. The very thing that you are astonished and grieved at in us is this, that 
God is enlarging Japhet. Is He not dwelling in the tents of Shem? — that is, in the churches 
built by the apostles, the sons of the prophets. Hear what Paul says to the believing Gentiles: 
"Ye were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and 
strangers from the covenants; having no hope of the promise, and without God in the world." 
In these words there is a description of the state of Japhet before he dwelt in the tents of 
Shem. But observe what follows: "Now then;" he says, "ye are no more strangers and for- 
eigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon 
the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner- 
stone." 445 Here we have Japhet enlarged, and dwelling in the tents of Shem. These testimon- 
ies are taken from the epistles of the apostles, which you yourselves acknowledge, and read, 
and profess to follow. You occupy an unhappy middle position in a building of which Christ 
is not the chief corner-stone. For you do not belong to the wall of those who, like the apostles, 
being of the circumcision, believed in Christ; nor to the wall of those who, being of the un- 
circumcision, like all the Gentiles, are joined in the unity of faith, as in the fellowship of the 
corner-stone. However, all who accept and read any books of our canon in which Christ is 
spoken of as having been born and having suffered in the flesh, and who do not unite with 
us in a common veiling with the sacrament of the mortality, uncovered by the passion, but 
without the knowledge of piety and charity make known that from which we all are 
born, — although they differ among themselves, whether as Jews and heretics, or as heretics 
of one kind or other, — are still all useful to the Church, as being all alike servants, either in 
bearing witness to or in proving some truth. For of heretics it is said: "There must be her- 
esies, that those who are approved among you may be manifested." 446 Go on, then, with 


445 Eph. ii. 12, 19, 20. 

446 1 Cor. xi. 19. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


your objections to the Old Testament Scriptures! Go on, ye servants of Ham! You have 
despised the flesh from which you were born when uncovered. For you could not have 
called yourselves Christians unless Christ had come into the world, as foretold by the 
prophets, and had drunk of His own vine that cup which could not pass from Him, and had 
slept in His passion, as in the drunkenness of the folly which is wiser than men; and so, in 
the hidden counsel of God, the disclosure had been made of that infirmity of mortal flesh 
which is stronger than men. For unless the Word of God had taken on Himself this infirmity, 
the name of Christian, in which you also glory, would not exist in the earth. Go on, then, 
as I have said. Declare in mockery what we may honor with reverence. Let the Church use 
you as her servants to make manifest those members who are approved. So particular are 
the predictions of the prophets regarding the state and the sufferings of the Church, that 
we can find a place even for you in what is said of the destructive error by which the reprobate 
are to perish, while the approved are to be manifested. 

25. You say that Christ was not foretold by the prophets of Israel, when, in fact, their 
Scriptures teem with such predictions, if you would only examine them carefully, instead 
of treating them with levity. Who in Abraham leaves his country and kindred that he may 
become rich and prosperous among strangers, but He who, leaving the land and country 
of the Jews, of whom He was born in the flesh, is now extending His power, as we see, among 
the Gentiles? Who in Isaac carried the wood for His own sacrifice, but He who carried His 
own cross? Who is the ram for sacrifice, caught by the horns in a. bush, but He who was 
fastened to the cross as an offering for us? 

26. Who in the angel striving with Jacob, on the one hand is constrained to give him a 
blessing, as the weaker to the stronger, the conquered to the conqueror, and on the other 
hand puts his thigh-bone out of joint, but He who, when He suffered the people of Israel to 
prevail against Him, blessed those among them who believed, while the multitude, like Jacob’s 
thigh-bone, halted in their carnality? Who is the stone placed under Jacob’s head, but Christ 
the head of man? And in its anointing the very name of Christ is expressed, for, as all know, 
Christ means anointed. Christ refers to this in the Gospel, and declares it to be a type of 
Himself, when He said of Nathanael that he was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile, 
and when Nathanael, resting his head, as it were, on this Stone, or on Christ, confessed Him 
as the Son of God and the King of Israel anointing the Stone by his confession, in which he 
acknowledged Jesus to be Christ. On this occasion the Lord made appropriate mention of 
what Jacob saw in his dream "Verily I say unto you, Ye shall see heaven opened, and the 
angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." 447 This Jacob saw, who in 
the blessing was called Israel, when he had the stone for a pillow, and had the vision of the 
ladder reaching from earth to heaven, on which the angels of God were ascending and des- 


447 John i. 47-51. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


cending. 448 The angels denote the evangelists, or preachers of Christ. They ascend when 
they rise above the created universe to describe the supreme majesty of the divine nature of 
Christ as being in the beginning God with God, by whom all things were made. They descend 
to tell of His being made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that 
were under the law. Christ is the ladder reaching from earth to heaven, or from the carnal 
to the spiritual: for by His assistance the carnal ascend to spirituality; and the spiritual may 
be said to descend to nourish the carnal with milk when they cannot speak to them as to 
spiritual, but as to carnal. 449 There is thus both an ascent and a descent upon the Son of 
man. For the Son of man is above as our head, being Himself the Saviour; and He is below 
in His body, the Church. He is the ladder, for He says, "I am the way." We ascend to Him 
to see Him in heavenly places; we descend to Him for the nourishment of His weak members. 
And the ascent and descent are by Him as well as to Him. Following His example, those 
who preach Him not only rise to behold Him exalted, but let themselves down to give a 
plain announcement of the truth. So the apostle ascends, "Whether we be beside ourselves, 
it is to God;" and descends, "Whether we be sober, it is for your sake." And by whom did 
he ascend and descend? "For the love of Christ constraineth us: for we thus judge, that if 
one died for all, then all died; and that He died for all, that they which live should no longer 
live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them, and rose again." 450 

27. The man who does not find pleasure in these views of sacred Scripture is turned 
away to fables, because he cannot bear sound doctrine. The fables have an attraction for 
childish minds in people of all ages; but we who are of the body of Christ should say with 
the Psalmist; "O Lord, the wicked have spoken to me pleasing things, but they are not after 
Thy law." 451 In every page of these Scriptures, while I pursue my search as a son of Adam 
in the sweat of my brow, Christ either openly or covertly meets and refreshes me. Where 
the discovery is laborious my ardor is increased, and the spoil obtained is eagerly devoured, 
and is hidden in my heart for my nourishment. 

28. Christ appears to me in Joseph, who was persecuted and sold by his brethren, and 
after his troubles obtained honor in Egypt. We have seen the troubles of Christ in the world, 
of which Egypt was a figure, in the sufferings of the martyrs. And now we see the honor of 
Christ in the same world which He subdues to Himself, in exchange for the food which He 
bestows. Christ appears to me in the rod of Moses, which became a serpent when cast on 
the earth as a figure of His death, which came from the serpent. Again, when caught by the 
tail it became a rod, as a figure of His return after the accomplishment of His work in His 


448 Gen. xxviii. 11-18. 

449 1 Cor. iii. 1-3. 

450 2 Cor. v. 13-15. 


451 


Ps. cxix. 83. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


resurrection to what He was before, destroying death by His new life, so as to leave no trace 
of the serpent. We, too, who are His body, glide along in the same mortality through the 
folds of time; but when at last the tail of this course of things is laid hold of by the hand of 
judgment that it shall go no further, we shall be renewed, and rising from the destruction 
of death, the last enemy, we shall be the sceptre of government in the right hand of God. 

29. Of the departure of Israel from Egypt, let us hear what the apostle himself says: "I 
would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant that all our fathers were under the cloud, 
and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 
and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink. For 
they drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ." 452 The 
explanation of one thing is a key to the rest. For if the rock is Christ from its stability, is not 
the manna Christ, the living bread which came down from heaven, which gives spiritual 
life to those who truly feed on it? The Israelites died because they received the figure only 
in its carnal sense. The apostle, by calling it spiritual food, shows its reference to Christ, as 
the spiritual drink is explained by the words, "That rock was Christ," which explain the 
whole. Then is not the cloud and the pillar Christ, who by His uprightness and strength 
supports our feebleness; who shines by night and not by day, that they who see not may see, 
and that they who see maybe made blind? In the clouds and the Red Sea there is the baptism 
consecrated by the blood of Christ. The enemies following behind perish, as past sins are 
put away. 

30. The Israelites are led through the wilderness, as those who are baptized are in the 
wilderness while on the way to the promised land, hoping and patiently waiting for that 
which they see not. In the wilderness are severe trials, lest they should in heart return to 
Egypt. Still Christ does not leave them; the pillar does not go away. The bitter waters are 
sweetened by wood, as hostile people become friendly by learning to honor the cross of 
Christ. The twelve fountains watering the seventy palm trees are a figure of apostolic grace 
watering the nations. As seven is multiplied by ten, so the decalogue is fulfilled in the sev- 
enfold operation of the Spirit. The enemy attempting to stop them in their way is overcome 
by Moses stretching out his hands in the figure of the cross. The deadly bites of serpents 
are healed by the brazen serpent, which was lifted up that they might look at it. The Ford 
Himself gives the explanation of this: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so 
must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but have 
everlasting life." 453 So in many other things we may find a protest against the obstinacy of 
unbelieving hearts. In the passover a lamb is killed, representing Christ, of whom it is said 
in the Gospel, "Behold the Famb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!" 454 In the 


452 1 Cor. x. 1-4. 

453 John iii. 14. 

454 John i. 29. 

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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


passover the bones of the lamb were not to be broken; and on the cross the bones of the 
Lord were not broken. The evangelist, in reference to this, quotes the words, "A bone of 
Him shall not be broken." 455 The posts were marked with blood to keep away destruction, 
as people are marked on their foreheads with the sign of the Lord’s passion for their salvation. 
The law was given on the fiftieth day after the passover; so the Holy Spirit came on the 
fiftieth day after the passion of the Lord. The law is said to have been written with the finger 
of God; and the Lord says of the Holy Spirit, "With the finger of God I cast out devils." 456 
Such are the Scriptures in which Faustus, after shutting his eyes, declares that he can see no 
prediction of Christ. But we need not wonder that he should have eyes to read and yet no 
heart to understand, since, instead of knocking in devout faith at the door of the heavenly 
secret, he dares to act in profane hostility. So let it be, for so it ought to be. Let the gate of 
salvation be shut to the proud. The meek, to whom God teaches His ways, will find all these 
things in the Scriptures, and those things which he does not see he will believe from what 
he sees. 

31. He will see Jesus leading the people into the land of promise; for this name was 
given to the leader of Israel, not at first, or by chance, but on account of the work to which 
he was called. He will see the cluster from the land of promise hanging from a wooden 
pole. He will see in Jericho, as in this perishing world, an harlot, one of those of whom the 
Lord says that they go before the proud into the kingdom of heaven, putting out of her 
window a scarlet line symbolical of blood, as confession is made with the mouth for the re- 
mission of sins. He will see the walls of Jericho, like the frail defences of the world, fall when 
compassed seven times by the ark of the covenant; as now in the course of the seven days 
of time the covenant of God compasses the whole globe, that in the end, death, the last enemy, 
may be destroyed, and the Church, like one single house, be saved from the destruction of 
the ungodly, purified from the defilement of fornication by the window of confession in the 
blood of remission. 

32. He will see the times of the judges precede those of the kings, as the judgment will 
precede the kingdom. And under both the judges and the kings he will see Christ and the 
Church repeatedly prefigured in many and various ways. Who was in Samson, when he 
killed the lion that met him as he went to get a wife among strangers, but He who, when 
going to call His Church from among the Gentiles, said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome 
the world?" 457 What means the hive in the mouth of the slain lion, but that, as we see, the 


455 John xix. 36. 

456 Luke xi. 20. 

457 John xvi. 33. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


very laws of the earthly kingdom which once raged against Christ have now lost their 
fierceness, and have become a protection for the preaching of gospel sweetness? What is 
that woman boldly piercing the temples of the enemy with a wooden nail, but the faith of 
the Church casting down the kingdom of the devil by the cross of Christ? What is the fleece 
wet while the ground was dry, and again the fleece dry while the ground was wet, but the 
Hebrew nation at first possessing alone in its typical institution Christ the mystery of God, 
while the whole world was in ignorance? And now the whole world has this mystery revealed, 
while the Jews are destitute of it. 

33. To mention only a few things in the times of the kings, at the very outset does not 
the change in the priesthood when Eh was rejected and Samuel chosen, and in the kingdom 
when Saul was rejected and David chosen, clearly predict the new priesthood and kingdom 
to come in our Lord Jesus Christ, when the old, which was a shadow of the new, was rejected? 
Did not David, when he ate the shew-bread, which it was not lawful for any but the priests 
to eat, prefigure the union of the kingdom and priesthood in one person, Jesus Christ? In 
the separation of the ten tribes from the temple while two were left, is there not a figure of 
what the apostle asserts of the whole nation: "A remnant is saved by the election of grace."? 

34. In the time of famine, Elijah is fed by ravens bringing bread in the morning and 
flesh in the evening; but the Manichaeans cannot in this perceive Christ, who, as it were, 
hungers for our salvation, and to whom sinners come in confession, having now the first- 
fruits of the Spirit, while in the end, that is to say in the evening of the age, they will have 
the resurrection of their bodies also. Elijah is sent to be fed by a widow woman of another 
nation, who was going to gather two sticks before she died, denoting the two wooden beams 
of the cross. Her meal and oil are blessed, as the fruit and cheerfulness of charity do not 
diminish by expenditure, for God loveth a cheerful giver. 459 

35. The children that mocked Elisha by calling out Baldhead, are devoured by wild 
beasts, as those who in childish folly scoff at Christ crucified on Calvary are destroyed by 
devils. Elisha sends his servants to lay his staff on the dead body, but it does not revive; he 
comes himself, and lays himself exactly upon the dead body, and it revives: as the Word of 
God sent the law by His servant, without any profit to mankind dead in sins; and yet it was 
not sent without purpose by Him who knew the necessity of its being first sent. Then He 
Himself came, conformed Himself to us by participation in our death, and we were revived. 
When they were cutting down wood with axes, the iron, flying off the wood, sank to the 
bottom of the river, and came up again when the wood was thrown in by Elisha. So, when 
Christ’s bodily presence was cutting down the unfruitful trees among the unbelieving Jews, 
according to the saying of John, "Behold, the axe is laid to the roots of the tree," 460 by the 


458 Rom. xi. 5. 

459 2 Cor. ix. 7. 


460 Matt. iii. 10. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


death they inflicted, Christ was separated from His body, and descended to the depths of 
the infernal world; and then, when His body was laid in the tomb, like the wood on the 
water, His spirit returned, like the iron to the handle, and He rose. The reader will observe 
how many things of this kind are omitted for the sake of brevity. 

36. As regards the departure to Babylon, where the Spirit of God by the prophet 
Jeremiah enjoins them to go, telling them to pray for the people in whose land they dwell 
as strangers, because in their peace they would find peace, and to build houses, and plant 
vineyards and gardens, — the figurative meaning is plain, when we consider that the true 
Israelites, in whom is no guile, passed over in the ministry of the apostles with the ordinances 
of the gospel into the kingdom of the Gentiles. So the apostle, like an echo of Jeremiah, says 
to us, "I will first of all that prayer, supplications, intercessions and giving of thanks be made 
for all men, and for those in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all 
godliness and charity; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who 
will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 461 Accordingly 
the basilicas of Christian congregations have been built by believers as abodes of peace, and 
vineyards of the faithful have been renewed, and gardens planted, where chief among the 
plants is the mustard tree, in whose wide-spreading branches the pride of the Gentiles, like 
the birds of heaven, in its soaring ambition, takes shelter. Again, in the return from captivity 
after seventy years, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy, and in the restoration of the temple, 
every believer in Christ must see a figure of our return as the Church of God from the exile 
of this world to the heavenly Jerusalem, after the seven days of time have fulfilled their 
course. Joshua the high priest, after the captivity, who rebuilt the temple, was a figure of 
Jesus Christ, the true High Priest of our restoration. The prophet Zechariah saw this Joshua 
in a filthy garment; and after the devil who stood by to accuse him was defeated, the filthy 
garment was taken from him, and a dress of honor and glory given him. So the body of Jesus 
Christ, which is the Church, when the adversary is conquered in the judgment at the end 
of the world, will pass from the pains of exile to the glory of everlasting safety. This is the 
song of the Psalmist at the dedication of his house: "Thou hast turned for me my mourning 
into gladness; Thou hast removed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness, that my glory 
may sing praise unto Thee, and not be silent." 462 

37. It is impossible, in a digression like this, to refer, however briefly, to all the figurative 
predictions of Christ which are to be found in the law and the prophets. Will it be said that 
these things happened in the regular course of things, and that it is a mere ingenious fancy 
to make them typical of Christ? Such an objection might come from Jews and Pagans; but 
those who wish to be considered Christians must yield to the authority of the apostle when 


461 1 Tim. ii. 1-4. 

462 Ps. xxx. 11, 12. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


he says, "All these things happened to them for an example;" and again, "These things are 
our examples." 463 For if two men, Ishmael and Isaac, are types of the two covenants, can it 
be supposed that there is no significance in the vast number of particulars which have no 
historical or natural value? Suppose we were to see some Hebrew characters written on the 
wall of a noble building, should we be so foolish as to conclude that, because we cannot 
understand the characters, they are not intended to be read, and are mere painting, without 
any meaning? So, whoever with a candid mind reads all these things that are contained in 
the Old Testament Scriptures, must feel constrained to acknowledge that they have a 
meaning. 

38. As an example of those particulars which have no meaning at all if not a symbolical 
one: Granting that it was necessary that woman should be made as an help meet for man, 
what natural reason can be assigned for her being taken from his side while he slept? 
Granting that an ark was required in order to escape from the flood, why should it have 
precisely these dimensions, and why should they be recorded for the devout study of future 
generations? Granting that the animals were brought into the ark to preserve the various 
races, why should there be seven clean and two unclean? Granting that the ark must have 
a door, why should it be in the side, and why should this fact be committed to writing? 
Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son: we may allow that this proof of his obedience 
was required in order to make it conspicuous in all ages; we may allow, too, that it was a 
proper thing for the son to carry the wood instead of the aged father, and that in the end 
the fatal stroke was forbidden, lest the father should be left childless. But what had the 
shedding of the ram’s blood to do with Abraham’s trial? or if it was necessary to complete 
the sacrifice, was the ram any the better of being caught by the horns in a bush? The human 
mind, that is to say, a rational mind, is led by the consideration of the way in which these 
apparently superfluous things are blended with what is necessary, first to acknowledge their 
significance, and then to try to discover it. 

39. The Jews themselves, who scoff at the crucified Saviour in whom we believe, and 
who consequently will not allow that Christ is predicted in the sayings and actions recorded 
in the Old Testament, are compelled to come to us for an explanation of those things which, 
if not explained, must appear trifling and ridiculous. This led Philo, a Jew of great learning, 
whom the Greeks speak of as rivalling Plato in eloquence, to attempt to explain some things 
without any reference to Christ, in whom he did not believe. His attempt only shows the 
inferiority of all ingenious speculations, when made without keeping Christ in view, to 
whom all the predictions really point. So true is that saying of the apostle: "When they shall 
turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." 464 For instance, Noah’s ark is, according to 


463 1 Cor. x. 10, 6. 

464 2 Cor. iii. 16. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


Philo, a type of the human body, member by member: with this view, he shows that the 
numerical proportions agree perfectly. For there is no reason why a type of Christ should 
not be a type of the human body, too, since the Saviour of mankind appeared in a human 
body, though what is typical of a human body is not necessarily typical of Christ. Philo’s 
explanation fails, however, as regards the door in the side of the ark. He actually, for the 
sake of saying something, makes this door represent the lower apertures of the body. He 
has the hardihood to put this in words, and on paper. Indeed, he knew not the door and 
could not understand the symbol. Had he turned to Christ the veil would have been taken 
away, and he would have found the sacraments of the Church flowing from the side of 
Christ’s human body. For, according to the announcement, "They two shall be one flesh," 
some things in the ark which is a type of Christ, refer to Christ, and some to the Church. 
This contrast between the explanations which keep Christ in view, and all other ingenious 
perversions, is the same in every particular of all the figures in Scripture. 

40. The Pagans, too, cannot deny our right to give a figurative meaning to both words 
and things, especially as we can point to the fulfillment of the types and figures. For the 
Pagans themselves try to find in their own fables figures of natural and religious truth. 
Sometimes they give clear explanations, while at other times they disguise their meaning, 
and what is sacred in the temples becomes a jest in the theatres. They unite a disgraceful 
licentiousness to a degrading superstition. 

41. Besides this wonderful agreement between the types and the things typified, the 
adversary may be convinced by plain prophetic intimations, such as this: "In thy seed shall 
all nations be blessed." This was said to Abraham, 465 and again to Isaac, 466 and again to 
Jacob. 467 Hence the significance of the words "I am the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and 
Jacob." God fulfi ll s His promise to their seed in blessing all nations. With a like signific- 
ance, Abraham himself, when he made his servant swear, told him to put his hand under 
his thigh; 469 for he knew that thence would come the flesh of Christ, in whom we have now, 
not the promise of blessing to all nations, but the promise fulfilled. 

42. I should like to know, or rather, it would be well not to know, with what blindness 
of mind Faustus reads the passage where Jacob calls his sons, and says, "Assemble, that I 
may tell you the things that are to happen in the last day. Assemble and hear, ye sons of 
Jacob; give ear to Israel, your father.” Surely these are the words of a prophet. What, then, 
does he say of his son Judah, of whose tribe Christ came of the seed of David according to 


465 Gen. xxii. 18. 

466 Gen. xxvi. 4. 

467 Gen. xxviii. 14. 

468 Ex. iii. 6. 

Gen. xxiv. 2. 


469 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


the flesh, as the apostle teaches? "Judah," he says, "thy brethren shall praise thee: thy hand 
shall be upon the backs of thine enemies; the sons of thy father shall bow down to thee. 
Judah is a lion’s whelp; my son and offspring: bowing down, thou hast gone up: thou 
sleepest as a lion, and as a young lion, who will rouse him up? A prince shall not depart 
from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till those things come which have been laid up for 
him. He also is the desire of nations: binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt with 
sackcloth, he shall wash his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes 
are bright with wine, and his teeth whiter than milk ." 470 There is no falsehood or obscurity 
in these words when we read them in the clear light of Christ. We see His brethren the 
apostles and all His joint-heirs praising Him, seeking, not their own glory, but His. We see 
His hands on the backs of His enemies, who are bent and bowed to the earth by the growth 
of the Christian communities in spite of their opposition. We see Him worshipped by the 
sons of Jacob, the remnant saved according to the election of grace. Christ, who was born 
as an infant, is the lion’s whelp, as it is added, My son and offspring, to show why this whelp, 
in whose praise it is said, "The lion’s whelp is stronger than the herd ," 471 is even in infancy 
stronger than its elders. We see Christ ascending the cross, and bowing down when He 
gave up His spirit. We see Him sleeping as a lion, because in death itself He was not the 
conquered, but the conqueror, and as a lion’s whelp; for the reason of His birth and of His 
death was the same. And He is raised from the dead by Him whom no man hath seen or 
can see; for the words, "Who will raise Him up?" point to an unknown power. A prince did 
not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till in due time those things came which 
had been laid up in the promise. For we learn from the authentic history of the Jews them- 
selves, that Herod, under whom Christ was born, was their first foreign king. So the sceptre 
did not depart from the seed of Judah till the things laid up for him came. Then, as the 
promise is not only to the believing Jews, it is added: "He is the desire of the nations." Christ 
bound His foal — that is, His people — to the vine, when He preached in sackcloth, crying, 
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The Gentiles made subject to Him are 
represented by the ass’s colt, on which He also sat, leading it into Jerusalem, that is, the 
vision of peace teaching the meek His ways. We see Him washing His garments in wine; 
for He is one with the glorious Church, which He presents to Himself, not having spot or 
wrinkle; to whom also it is said by Isaiah: "Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them 
white as snow." How is this done but by the remission of sins? And the wine is none 
other than that of which it is said that it is "shed for many, for the remission of sins." Christ 


470 Gen. xlix. 1,2,8-12. 

471 Prov. xxx. 30. 


472 Isa. i. 18. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


is the cluster that hung on the pole. So it is added, "and His clothes in the blood of the 
grape." Again, what is said of His eyes being bright with wine, is understood by those 
members of His body who are enabled, in holy aberration of mind from the current of 
earthly things, to gaze on the eternal light of wisdom. So Paul says in a passage quoted before: 
"If we be beside ourselves, it is to God." Those are the eyes bright with wine. But he adds: 
"If we be sober, it is for your sakes." The babes needing to be fed with milk are not forgotten, 
as is denoted by the words, "His teeth are whiter than milk." 

43. What can our deluded adversaries say to such plain examples, which leave no room 
for perverse denial, or even for sceptical uncertainty? I call on the Manichaeans to begin to 
inquire into these subjects, and to admit the force of these evidences, on which I have no 
time to dwell; nor do I wish to make a selection, in case the ignorant reader should think 
there are no others, while the Christian student might blame me for the omission of many 
points more striking than those which occur to me at the moment. You will find many 
passages which require no such explanation as has been given here of Jacob’s prophecy. 
For instance, every reader can understand the words, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter," 
and the whole of that plain prophecy, "With His stripes we are healed" — "He bore our 

A'l'X 

sins." We have a poetical gospel in the words: "They pierced my hands and feet. They 
have told all my bones. They look and stare upon me. They divided my garments among 
them, and cast lots on my vesture." 474 The blind even may now see the fulfillment of the 
words: "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all kingdoms 
of the nations shall worship before Him." The words in the Gospel, "My soul is sorrowful, 
even unto death," "My soul is troubled," are a repetition of the words in the Psalm, "I slept 
in trouble." 475 And who made Him sleep? Whose voices cried, Crucify him, crucify him? 
The Psalm tells us: "The sons of men, their teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a 
sharp sword." 476 But they could not prevent His resurrection, or His ascension above the 
heavens, or His filling the earth with the glory of His name; for the Psalm says: "Be Thou 
exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let Thy glory be above all the earth." Every one must 
apply these words to Christ: "The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I be- 
gotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the 
uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." And what Jeremiah says of wisdom 
plainly applies to Christ: "Jacob delivered it to his son, and Israel to his chosen one. After- 

470 

wards He appeared on earth, and conversed with men." 


473 Isa. liii. 

474 Ps. xxii. 

475 Ps. lvii. 4. (Vulg.). 

476 Ps. lvii. 4. 

477 Ps. ii. 8, 9. 

478 Baruch iii. 37, 38. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


44. The same Saviour is spoken of in Daniel, where the Son of man appears before the 

Ancient of days, and receives a kingdom without end, that all nations may serve Him. 479 
In the passage quoted from Daniel by the Lord Himself, "When ye shall see the abomination 
of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let him that 
readeth understand,” 480 the number of weeks points not only to Christ, but to the very time 
of His advent. With the Jews, who look to Christ for salvation as we do, but deny that He 
has come and suffered, we can argue from actual events. Besides the conversion of the 
heathen, now so universal, as prophesied of Christ in their own Scriptures, there are the 
events in the history of the Jews themselves. Their holy place is thrown down, the sacrifice 
has ceased, and the priest, and the ancient anointing; which was all clearly foretold by Daniel 
when he prophesied of the anointing of the Most Holy. Now, that all these things have 

taken place, we ask the Jews for the anointed Most Holy, and they have no answer to give. 
But it is from the Old Testament that the Jews derive all the knowledge they have of Christ 
and His advent. Why do they ask John whether he is Christ? Why do they say to the Lord, 
"How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly." Why do Peter 
and Andrew and Philip say to Nathanael, "We have found Messias, which is interpreted 
Christ," but because this name was known to them from the prophecies of their Scriptures? 
In no other nation were the kings and priests anointed, and called Anointed or Christs. 
Nor could this symbolical anointing be discontinued till the coming of Him who was thus 
prefigured. For among all their anointed ones the Jews looked for one who was to save 
them. But in the mysterious justice of God they were blinded; and thinking only of the 
power of the Messiah, they did not understand His weakness, in which He died for us. In 
the book of Wisdom it is prophesied of the Jews: "Let us condemn him to an ignominious 
death; for he will be proved in his words. If he is truly the Son of God, He will aid him; and 
deliver him from the hand of his enemies. Thus they thought, and erred; for their wickedness 
blinded them." These words apply also to those who, in spite of all these evidences, in 
spite of such a series of prophecies, and of their fulfillment, still deny that Christ is foretold 
in the Scriptures. As often as they repeat this denial, we can produce fresh proofs, with the 
help of Him who has made such provision against human perversity, that proofs already 
given need not be repeated. 

45. Faustus has an evasive objection, which he no doubt thinks a most ingenious way 
of eluding the force of the clearest evidence of prophecy, but of which one is unwilling to 
take any notice, because answering it may give it an appearance of importance which it does 


479 Dan. vii. 13, 14. 

480 Matt. xxiv. 15. 

481 Dan. ix. 24-27. 

482 Wisd. ii. 18-21. 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


not really possess. What could be more irrational than to say that it is weak faith which will 
not believe in Christ without evidence? Do our adversaries, then, believe in testimony about 
Christ? Faustus wishes us to believe the voice from heaven as distinguished from human 
testimony. But did they hear this voice? Has not the knowledge of it come to us through 
human testimony? The apostle describes the transmission of this knowledge, when he says: 
"How shall they call on Him on whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe 
on Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and 
how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of 
them who publish peace, who bring good tidings!" Clearly, in the preaching of the apostles 

there was a reference to prophetic testimony. The apostles quoted the predictions of the 
prophets, to prove the truth and importance of their doctrines. For although their preaching 
was accompanied with the power of working miracles, the miracles would have been ascribed 
to magic, as some even now venture to insinuate, unless the apostles had shown that the 
authority of the prophets was in their favor. The testimony of prophets who lived so long 
before could not be ascribed to magical arts. Perhaps the reason why Faustus will not have 
us believe the Hebrew prophets as witnesses of the true Christ, is because he believes Persian 
heresies about a false Christ. 

46. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Christian mind must first be 
nourished in simple faith, in order that it may become capable of understanding things 
heavenly and eternal. Thus it is said by the prophet: "Unless ye believe, ye shall not under- 
stand." 484 Simple faith is that by which, before we attain to the height of the knowledge of 
the love of Christ, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God, we believe that not 
without reason was the dispensation of Christ’s humiliation, in which He was born and 
suffered as man, foretold so long before by the prophets through a prophetic race, a 
prophetic people, a prophetic kingdom. This faith teaches us, that in the foolishness which 
is wiser than men, and in the weakness which is stronger than men, is contained the hidden 
means of our justification and glorification. There are hid all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge, which are opened to no one who despises the nourishment transmitted through 
the breast of his mother that is, the milk of apostolic and prophetic instruction; or who, 
thinking himself too old for infantile nourishment, devours heretical poison instead of the 
food of wisdom, for which he rashly thought himself prepared. To require simple faith is 
quite consistent with requiring faith in the prophets. The very use of simple faith is to believe 
the prophets at the outset, while the understanding of the person who speaks in the prophets 
is attained after the mind has been purified and strengthened. 


483 Rom. x. 14, 15. 

484 Isa. vii. 9 (Vulg.). 


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Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustin proves such. . . 


47. But, it is said, if the prophets foretold Christ, they did not live in a way becoming 
their office. How can you tell whether they did or not? You are bad judges of what it is to 
live well or ill, whose justice consists in giving relief to an inanimate melon by eating it, in- 
stead of giving food to the starving beggar. It is enough for the babes in the Catholic Church, 
who do not yet know the perfect justice of the human soul, and the difference between the 
justice aimed at and that actually attained, to think of those men according to the wholesome 
doctrine of the apostles, that the just lives by faith. "Abraham believed God, and it was 
counted to him for righteousness. For the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the 
Gentiles by faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thy seed shall all 
nations be blessed." These are the words of the apostle. If you would, at his clear well- 
known voice, wake up from your unprofitable dreams, you would follow in the footsteps 
of our father Abraham, and would be blessed, along with all nations, in his seed. For, as the 
apostle says, "He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith 
which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all that believe in 
uncircumcision; that he might be the father of circumcision not only to those who are of 
the circumcision, but also to those who follow the footsteps of the faith of our father Abraham 
in uncircumcision." Since the righteousness of Abraham’s faith is thus set forth as an 
example to us, that we too, being justified by faith, may have peace with God, we ought to 
understand his manner of life, without finding fault with it; lest, by a premature separation 
from mother-Church, we prove abortions, instead of being brought forth in due time, when 
the conception has arrived at completeness. 

48. This is a brief reply to Faustus in behalf of the character of the patriarchs and 
prophets. It is the reply of the babes of our faith, among whom I would reckon myself, 
inasmuch as I would not find fault with the life of the ancient saints, even if I did not under- 
stand its mystical character. Their life is proclaimed to us with approval by the apostles in 
their Gospel, as they themselves in their prophecy foretold the future apostles, that the two 
Testaments, like the seraphim, might cry to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God 

AQ r 7 

of hosts." When Faustus, instead of the vague general accusation which he makes here, 
condemns particular actions in the lives of the patriarchs and the prophets, the Lord their 
God, and ours also, will assist me to reply suitably and appropriately to the separate charges. 
For the present, the reader must choose whether to believe the commendation of the Apostle 

hoo 

Paul or the accusations of Faustus the Manichaean. 


485 Gal. iii. 6, 8. 

486 Rom. iv. 11, 12. 

487 Isa. vi. 3. 

488 [It is unnecessary to point out in detail the vicious elements in Augustin’s allegorizing and typologizing. 
It should be said that his exegetical fancies were not original, but were derived from Philo, Origen, and their 
followers. — A.H.N.] 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


Book XIII. 

Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain predictions, it would 

be of interest only to the Jews, pagan literature subserving the same purpose for Gentiles. 

Augustin shows the value of prophesy for Gentiles and Jews alike. 

1. Faustus said: We are asked how we worship Christ when we reject the prophets, 
who declared the promise of His advent. It is doubtful whether, on examination, it can be 
shown that the Hebrew prophets foretold our Christ, that is, the Son of God. But were it 
so, what does it matter to us? If these testimonies of the prophets that you speak of were 
the means of converting any one from Judaism to Christianity, and if he should afterwards 
neglect these prophets, he would certainly be in the wrong, and would be chargeable with 
ingratitude. But we are by nature Gentiles, of the uncircumcision; as Paul says, born under 
another law. Those whom the Gentiles call poets were our first religious teachers, and from 
them we were afterwards converted to Christianity. We did not first become Jews, so as to 
reach Christianity through faith in their prophets; but were attracted solely by the fame, 
and the virtues, and the wisdom of our liberator Jesus Christ. If I were still in the religion 
of my fathers, and a preacher were to come using the prophets as evidence in favor of 
Christianity, I should think him mad for attempting to support what is doubtful by what is 
still more doubtful to a Gentile of another religion altogether. He would require first to 
persuade me to believe the prophets, and then through the prophets to believe Christ. And 
to prove the truth of the prophets, other prophets would be necessary. For if the prophets 
bear witness to Christ, who bears witness to the prophets? You will perhaps say that Christ 
and the prophets mutually support each other. But a Pagan, who has nothing to do with 
either, would believe neither the evidence of Christ to the prophets, nor that of the prophets 
to Christ. If the Pagan becomes a Christian, he has to thank his own faith, and nothing else. 
Let us, for the sake of illustration, suppose ourselves conversing with a Gentile inquirer. 
We tell him to believe in Christ, because He is God. He asks for proof. We refer him to the 
prophets. He asks, What prophets? We reply, The Hebrew. He smiles, and says that he 
does not believe them. We remind him that Christ testifies to them. He replies, laughing, 
that we must first make him believe in Christ. The result of such a conversation is that we 
are silenced, and the inquirer departs, thinking us more zealous than wise. Again, I say, the 
Christian Church, which consists more of Gentiles than of Jews, can owe nothing to Hebrew 
witnesses. If, as is said, any prophecies of Christ are to be found in the Sibyl, 489 or in Her- 



489 [On the Sibylline books, see article by G. H. Schodde in the Schaff-Hertzog Encyclopaedia of Religious 
Knowledge, and the works there referred to. The Christian writers of the first three centuries seem not to have 

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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


mes, 490 called Trismegistus, or Orpheus, or any heathen poet, they might aid the faith of 
those who, like us, are converts from heathenism to Christianity. But the testimony of the 
Hebrews is useless to us before conversion, for then we cannot believe them; and superfluous 
after, for we believe without them. 

2. Augustin replied: After the long reply of last book, a short answer may suffice here. 
To one who has read that reply, it must seem insanity in Faustus to persist in denying that 
Christ was foretold by the Hebrew prophets, when the Hebrew nation was the only one in 
which the name Christ had a peculiar sacredness as applied to kings and priests; in which 
sense it continued to be applied till the coming of Him whom those kings and priests typified. 
Where did the Manichaean learn the name of Christ? If from Manichaeus, it is very strange 
that Africans, not to speak of others, should believe the Persian Manichaeus, since Faustus 
finds fault with the Romans and Greeks, and other Gentiles, for believing the Hebrew 
prophets as belonging to another race. According to Faustus, the predictions of the Sibyl, 
or Orpheus, or any heathen poet, are more suitable for leading Gentiles to believe in Christ. 
He forgets that none of these are read in the churches, whereas the voice of the Hebrew 
prophets, sounding everywhere, draws swarms of people to Christianity. When it is so 
evident that men are everywhere led to Christ by the Hebrew prophets, it is great absurdity 
to say that those prophets are not suitable for the Gentiles. 

3. Christ as foretold by the Hebrew prophets does not please you; but this is the Christ 
in whom the Gentile nations believe, with whom, according to you, Hebrew prophecy should 
have no weight. They receive the gospel which, as Paul says, "God had promised before by 
His prophets in the Holy Scriptures of His Son, who was made of the seed of David according 
to the flesh." 491 So we read in Isaiah: "There shall be a Root of Jesse, which shall rise to 
reign in the nations; in Him shall the Gentiles trust." 492 And again: "Behold, a virgin shall 


suspected the real character of these pseudo-prophetical writings, and to have regarded them as remarkable 
testimonies from the heathen world to the Truth of the Christian religion. — A.H.N.] 

490 ["The Mercurius or Hermes Trismegistus of legend was a personage, an Egyptian sage or succession of 
sages, who, since the time of Plato, has been identified with the Thoth (the name of the month September), of 
that people.. . . He was considered to be the impersonation of the religion, art, learning and sacerdotal discipline 
of the Egyptian priesthood. He was by several of the Fathers, and, in modern times, by three of his earliest editors, 
supposed to have existed before the time of Moses, and to have obtained the appellation of ‘Thrice greatest’, 
from his threefold learning and rank of Philosopher, Priest and King, and that of ‘Hermes,’ or Mercurius, as 
messenger and authoritative interpreter of divine things.” The author of the books that go under the name of 
Hermes Trismegistus is thought to have lived about the beginning of the second century, and was a Christian 
Neo-Platonist. See J. C. Chambers: The Theological and Philosophical Works of Hermes Trismegistus, translated 
from the original Greek, with Preface, Notes and Index, Edinburh, 1882. — A.H.N.] 

491 Rom. i. 2, 3. 

492 Isa. xi. 10. 


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conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel," 493 which is, being inter- 
preted, God with us. Nor let the Manichaean think that Christ is foretold only as a man by 
the Hebrew prophets; for this is what Faustus seems to insinuate when he says, "Our Christ 
is the Son of God," as if the Christ of the Hebrews was not the Son of God. We can prove 
Christ the virgin’s son of Hebrew prophecy to be God. For the Lord Himself teaches the 
carnal Jews not to think that, because He is foretold as the son of David, He is therefore no 
more than that. He asks: "What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He?" They reply: "Of 
David." Then, to remind them of the name Emmanuel, God with us, He says: "How does 
David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right 
hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool?" 494 Here, then, Christ appears as God in 
Hebrew prophecy. What prophecy can the Manichaeans show with the name of Christ in 
it? 

4. Manichaeus indeed was not a prophet of Christ, but calls himself an apostle, which 
is a shameless falsehood; for it is well known that this heresy began not only after Tertullian, 
but after Cyprian. In all his letters Manichaeus begins thus: "Manichaeus, an apostle of Jesus 
Christ." Why do you believe what Manichaeus says of Christ? What evidence does he give 
of his apostleship? This very name of Christ is known to us only from the Jews, who, in 
their application of it to their kings and priests, were not individually, but nationally, 
prophets of Christ and Christ’s kingdom. What right has he to use this name, who forbids 
you to believe the Hebrew prophets, that he may make you the heretical disciples of a false 
Christ, as he himself is a false and heretical apostle? And if Faustus quotes as evidence in 
his own support some prophets who, according to him, foretell Christ, how will he satisfy 
his supposed inquirer, who will not believe either the prophets or Faustus? Will he take our 
apostles as witnesses? Unless he can find some apostles in life, he must read their writings; 
and these are all against him. They teach our doctrine that Christ was born of the Virgin 
Mary, that He was the Son of God, of the seed of David according to the flesh. He cannot 
pretend that the writings have been tampered with, for that would be to attack the credit of 
his own witnesses. Or if he produces his own manuscripts of the apostolic writings, he must 
also obtain for them the authority of the churches founded by the apostles themselves, by 
showing that they have been preserved and transmitted with their sanction. It will be difficult 
for a man to make me believe him on the evidence of writings which derive all their authority 
from his own word, which I do not believe. 

5. But perhaps you believe the common report about Christ. Faustus makes a feeble 
suggestion of this kind as a last resource, to escape being obliged either to produce his 
worthless authorities, or to come under the power of those opposed to him. Well, if report 


493 Isa. vii. 14. 


494 Matt. xxii. 42-44. 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


is your authority, you should consider the consequences of trusting to such evidence. There 
are many bad things reported of you which you do not wish people to believe. Is it reasonable 
to make the same evidence true about Christ and false about yourselves? In fact, you deny 
the common report about Christ. For the report most widely spread, and which every one 
has heard repeated, is that which distinctly asserts that Christ was born of the seed of David, 
according to the promise made in the Hebrew Scriptures to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob: 
"In thy seed shall all nations be blessed." You will not admit this Hebrew testimony, but 
you do not seem to have any other. The authority of our books, which is confirmed by the 
agreement of so many nations, supported by a succession of apostles, bishops, and councils, 
is against you. Your books have no authority, for it is an authority maintained by only a 
few, and these the worshippers of an untruthful God and Christ. If they are not following 
the example of the beings they worship, their testimony must be against their own false 
doctrine. And, once more, common report gives a very bad account of you, and invariably 
asserts, in opposition to you, that Christ was of the seed of David. You did not hear the 
voice of the Father from heaven. You did not see the works by which Christ bore witness 
to Himself. The books which tell of these things you profess to receive, that you may 
maintain a delusive appearance of Christianity; but when anything is quoted against you, 
you say that the books have been tampered with. You quote the passage where Christ says, 
"If ye believe not me, believe the works;" and again, "I am one that bear witness of myself, 
and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me;" but you will not let us quote in reply 
such passages as these: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think that ye have eternal life, 
and they are they that testify of me;” "If ye believed Moses, ye would believe me, for he wrote 
of me;" "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them;" "If they hear not Moses 
and the prophets, neither will they believe though one rose from the dead." What have you 
to say for yourselves? Where is your authority? If you reject these passages of Scripture, in 
spite of the weighty authority in their favor, what miracles can you show? However, if you 
did work miracles, we should be on our guard against receiving their evidence in your case; 
for the Lord has forewarned us: "Many false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall 
do many signs and wonders, that they may deceive, if it were possible, the very elect: behold, 
I have told you before." 495 This shows that the established authority of Scripture must 
outweigh every other; for it derives new confirmation from the progress of events which 
happen, as Scripture proves, in fulfillment of the predictions made so long before their oc- 
currence. 

6. Are, then, your doctrines so manifestly true, that they require no support from mir- 
acles or from any testimony? Show us these self-evident truths, if you have anything of the 
kind to show. Your legends, as we have already seen, are long and silly, old wives fables for 


495 Matt. xxiv. 24, 25. 


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the amusement of women and children. The beginning is detached from the rest, the middle 
is unsound, and the end is a miserable failure. If you begin with the immortal, invisible, 
incorruptible God, what need was there of His fighting with the race of darkness? And as 
for the middle of your theory, what becomes of the incorruptibility and unchangeableness 
of God, when His members in fruits and vegetables are purified by your mastication and 
digestion? And for the end, is it just that the wretched soul should be punished with lasting 
confinement in the mass of darkness, because its God is unable to cleanse it of the defilement 
contracted from evil external to itself in the fulfillment of His own commission? You are 
at a loss for a reply. See the worthlessness of your boasted manuscripts, numerous and 
valuable as you say they are! Alas for the toils of the antiquaries! Alas for the property of 
the unhappy owners! Alas for the food of the deluded followers! Destitute as you are of 
Scripture authority, of the power of miracles, of moral excellence, and of sound doctrine, 
depart ashamed, and return penitent, confessing that true Christ, who is the Saviour of all 
who believe in Him, whose name and whose Church are now displayed as they were of old 
foretold, not by some being issuing from subterranean darkness, but by a nation in a distinct 
kingdom established for this purpose, that there those things might be figuratively predicted 
of Christ which are now in reality fulfilled, and the prophets might foretell in writing what 
the apostles now exhibit in their preaching. 

7. Let us suppose, then, a conversation with a heathen inquirer, in which Faustus de- 
scribed us as making a poor appearance, though his own appearance was much more de- 
plorable. If we say to the heathen, Believe in Christ, for He is God, and, on his asking for 
evidence, produce the authority of the prophets, if he says that he does not believe the 
prophets, because they are Hebrew and he is a Gentile, we can prove the truth of the 
prophets from the actual fulfillment of their prophecies. He could scarcely be ignorant of 
the persecutions suffered by the early Christians from the kings of this world; or if he was 
ignorant, he could be informed from history and the records of imperial laws. But this is 
what we find foretold long ago by the prophet, saying, "Why do the heathen rage, and the 
people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the princes take 
counsel together against the Lord, and against His Christ." The rest of the Psalm shows that 
this is not said of David. For what follows might convince the most stubborn unbeliever: 
"The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and 
I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy posses- 
sion." 496 This never happened to the Jews, whose king, David was, but is now plainly fulfilled 
in the subjection of all nations to the name of Christ. This and many similar prophecies, 
which it would take too long to quote, would surely impress the mind of the inquirer. He 
would see these very kings of the earth now happily subdued by Christ, and all nations 


496 Ps. ii. 7, 8. 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


serving Him; and he would hear the words of the Psalm in which this was so long before 
predicted: "All the kings of the earth shall bow down to Him; all nations shall serve Him." 497 
And if he were to read the whole of that Psalm, which is figuratively applied to Solomon, 
he would find that Christ is the true King of peace, for Solomon means peaceful; and he 
would find many things in the Psalm applicable to Christ, which have no reference at all to 
the literal King Solomon. Then there is that other Psalm where God is spoken of as anointed 
by God, the very word anointed pointing to Christ, showing that Christ is God, for God is 
represented as being anointed. 498 In reading what is said in this Psalm of Christ and of the 
Church, he would find that what is there foretold is fulfilled in the present state of the world. 
He would see the idols of the nations perishing from off the earth, and he would find that 
this is predicted by the prophets, as in Jeremiah, "Then shall ye say unto them, The gods 
that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth, and from under 
heaven;" 499 and again, "O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of 
affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto Thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely 
our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man 
make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will at that time cause 
them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know 
that I am the Lord." 500 Hearing these prophecies, and seeing their actual fulfillment, I need 
not say that he would be affected; for we know by experience how the hearts of believers are 
confirmed by seeing ancient predictions now receiving their accomplishment. 

8. In the same prophet the inquirer would find clear proof that Christ is not merely 
one of the great men that have appeared in the world. For Jeremiah goes on to say: "Cursed 
be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from 
the Lord: for he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; 
but shall inhabit the parched places of the wilderness, in a salt land not inhabited. Blessed 
is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is: for he shall be as a tree 
beside the water, that spreadeth out its roots by the river: he shall not fear when heat cometh, 
but his leaf shall be green; he shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease 
from yielding fruit." 501 On hearing this curse pronounced in the figurative language of 
prophecy on him that trusts in man, and the blessing in similar style on him that trusts in 
God, the inquirer might have doubts about our doctrine, in which we teach not only that 


497 Ps. lxxii. 10. 

498 Ps. xlv. 7. 

499 Jer. x. 11. 

500 Jer. xvi. 19-21. 
Jer. xvii. 5-8. 


501 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


Christ is God, so that our trust is not in man, but also that He is man because He took our 
nature. So some err by denying Christ’s humanity, while they allow His divinity. Others, 
again, assert His humanity, but deny His divinity, and so either become infidels or incur 
the guilt of trusting in man. The inquirer, then, might say that the prophet says only that 
Christ is God, without any reference to His human nature; whereas, in our apostolic doctrine, 
Christ is not only God in whom we may safely trust, but the Mediator between God and 
man — the man Jesus. The prophet explains this in the words in which he seems to check 
himself, and to supply the omission: "His heart," he says "is sorrowful throughout; and He 
is man, and who shall know Him?" He is man, in order that in the form of a servant He 
might heal the hard in heart, and that they might acknowledge as God Him who became 
man for their sakes, that their trust might be not in man, but in God-man. He is man taking 
the form of a servant. And who shall know Him? For "He was in the form of God, and 
thought it not robbery to be equal to God." He is man, for "the Word was made flesh, 
and dwelt among us." And who shall know Him? For "in the beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was with God, and the Word was God." 504 And truly His heart was sorrowful 
throughout. For even as regards His own disciples His heart was sorrowful, when He said, 
"Have I been so long time with you, and yet have ye not known me?" "Have I been so long 
time with you" answers to the words "He is man," and "Have ye not known me?" to "Who 
shall know Him?" And the person is none other but He who says, "He that hath seen me 
hath seen the Father." 505 So that our trust is not in man, to be under the curse of the 
prophet, but in God-man, that is, in the Son of God, the Saviour Jesus Christ, the Mediator 
between God and man. In the form of a servant the Father is greater than He; in the form 
of God He is equal with the Father. 

9. In Isaiah we read: "The pride of man shall be brought low; and the Lord alone shall 
be exalted in that day. And they shall hide the workmanship of their hands in the clefts of 
the rocks, and in dens and caves of the earth, from fear of the Lord, and from the glory of 
His power, when He shall arise to shake terribly the earth. For in that day a man shall cast 
away his idols of gold and silver, which they have made to worship, as useless and hurtful." 
506 Perhaps the inquirer himself, who, as Faustus supposes, would laugh and say that he 
does not believe the Hebrew prophets, has hid idols made with hands in some cleft, or cave, 
or den. Or he may know a friend, or neighbor, or fellow- citizen who has done this from 
the fear of the Lord, who by the severe prohibition of the kings of the earth, now serving 


502 Jer. xvii. 9. 

503 Phil. ii. 6. 

504 John i. 1. 

505 John xiv. 9. 
Isa. ii. 17-20. 


506 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


and bowing down to him, as the prophet predicted, shakes the earth, that is, breaks the 
stubborn heart of worldly men. The inquirer is not likely to disbelieve the Hebrew prophets, 
when he finds their predictions fulfilled, perhaps in his own person. 

10. One might rather fear that the inquirer, in the midst of such copious evidence, 
would say that the Christians composed those writings when the events described had 
already begun to take place, in order that those occurrences might appear to be not due to 
a merely human purpose, but as if divinely foretold. One might fear this, were it not for the 
widely spread and widely known people of the Jews; that Cain, with the mark that he should 
not be killed by any one; that Ham, the servant of his brethren, carrying as a load the books 
for their instruction. From the Jewish manuscripts we prove that these things were not 
written by us to suit the event, but were long ago published and preserved as prophecies in 
the Jewish nation. These prophecies are now explained in their accomplishment: for even 
what is obscure in them — because these things happened to them as an example, and were 
written for our benefit, on whom the ends of the world are come — is now made plain; and 
what was hidden in the shadows of the future is now visible in the light of actual experience. 

1 1 . The inquirer might bring forward as a difficulty the fact that those in whose books 
these prophecies are found are not united with us in the gospel. But when convinced that 
this also is foretold, he would feel how strong the evidence is. The prophecies of the unbelief 
of the Jews no one can avoid seeing, no one can pretend to be blind to them. No one can 
doubt that Isaiah spoke of the Jews when he said, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass 
his master’s crib; but Israel hath not known, and my people hath not considered;" or 
again, in the words quoted by the apostle, "I have stretched out my hands all the day to a 

ruo 

wicked and gainsaying people;" and especially where he says, "God has given them the 
spirit of remorse, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, and 
should not understand," 509 and many similar passages. If the inquirer objected that it was 
not the fault of the Jews if God blinded them so that they did not know Christ, we should 
try in the simplest manner possible to make him understand that this blindness is the just 
punishment of other secret sins known to God. We should prove that the apostle recognizes 
this principle when he says of some persons, "God gave them up to the lusts of their own 
hearts, and to a reprobate mind, to do things not convenient;" 510 and that the prophets 
themselves speak of this. For, to revert to the words of Jeremiah, "He is man, and who shall 
know Him?" lest it should be an excuse for the Jews that they did not know, — for if they had 
known, as the apostle says, "they would not have crucified the Lord of glory," 511 — the 


507 Isa. i. 3. 

508 Isa. lxv. 2; cf. Rom. x. 21. 

509 Isa. vi. 10; cf. Rom. xi. 

510 Rom. i. 28. 

1 Cor. ii. 8. 


511 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


prophet goes on to show that their ignorance was the result of secret criminality; for he 
says: "I the Lord search the heart and try the reins, to give to every one according to his 
ways, and according to the fruits of his doings." 

12. If the next difficulty in the mind of the inquirer arose from the divisions and heresies 
among those called Christians, he would learn that this too is taken notice of by the prophets. 
For, as if it was natural that, after being satisfied about the blindness of the Jews, this objection 
from the divisions among Christians should occur, Jeremiah, observing this order in his 
prophecy, immediately adds in the passage already quoted: "The partridge is clamorous, 
gathering what it has not brought forth, making riches without judgment." For the partridge 
is notoriously quarrelsome, and is often caught from its eagerness in quarreling. So the 
heretics discuss not to find the truth, but with a dogged determination to gain the victory 
one way or another, that they may gather, as the prophet says, what they have not brought 
forth. For those whom they lead astray are Christians already born of the gospel, whom the 
Christian profession of the heretics misleads. Thus they make riches not with judgment, 
but with inconsiderate haste. For they do not consider that the followers whom they gather 
as their riches are taken from the genuine original Christian society, and deprived of its 
benefits; and as the apostle describes these heretics in the words: "As Jannes and Jambres 
withstood Moses, so they also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning 
the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as 
theirs also was." So the prophet goes on to say of the partridge, which gathers what it 
has not brought forth: "In the midst of his days they shall leave him, and in the end he shall 
be a fool;" that is, he who at first misled people by a promising display of superior wisdom, 
shall be a fool, that is, shall be seen to be a fool. He will be seen when his folly is manifest 
to all men, and to those to whom he was at first a wise man he will then be a fool. 

13. As if anticipating that the inquirer would ask next by what plain mark a young 
disciple, not yet able to distinguish the truth among so many errors, might find the true 
Church of Christ, since the clear fulfillment of so many predictions compelled him to believe 
in Christ, the prophet answers this question in what follows, and teaches that the Church 
of Christ, which he describes prophetically, is conspicuously visible. His words are: "A 

CIO 

glorious high throne is our sanctuary." This glorious throne is the Church of which the 
apostle says: "The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 514 The Lord also, foreseeing 
the conspicuousness of the Church as a help to young disciples who might be misled, says, 
"A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." 515 Since, then, a glorious high throne is our 


512 2 Tim. iii. 8. 

513 Jer. xvii. 12. 

514 1 Cor. iii. 17. 


515 


Matt. v. 14. 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


sanctuary, no attention is to be paid to those who would lead us into sectarianism, saying, 
"Lo, here is Christ," or "Lo there." Lo here, lo there, speaks of division; but the true city is 
on a mountain, and the mountain is that which, as we read in the prophet Daniel, grew from 
a little stone till it filled the whole earth. 516 And no attention should be paid to those who, 
professing some hidden mystery confined to a small number, say, Behold, He is in the 
chamber; behold, in the desert: for a city set on an hill cannot be hid, and a glorious high 
throne is our sanctuary. 

14. After considering these instances of the fulfillment of prophecy about kings and 
people acting as persecutors, and then becoming believers, about the destruction of idols, 
about the blindness of the Jews, about their testimony to the writings which they have pre- 
served, about the folly of heretics, about the dignity of the Church of true and genuine 
Christians, the inquirer would most reasonably receive the testimony of these prophets 
about the divinity of Christ. No doubt, if we were to begin by urging him to believe 
prophecies yet unfulfilled, he might justly answer, What have I to do with these prophets, 
of whose truth I have no evidence? But, in view of the manifest accomplishment of so many 
remarkable predictions, no candid person would despise either the things which were 
thought worthy of being predicted in those early times with so much solemnity, or those 
who made the predictions. To none can we trust more safely, as regards either events long 
past or those still future, than to men whose words are supported by the evidence of so many 
notable predictions having been fulfilled. 

15. If any truth about God or the Son of God is taught or predicted in the Sibyl or Sibyls, 
or in Orpheus, or in Hermes, if there ever was such a person, or in any other heathen poets, 
or theologians, or sages, or philosophers, it may be useful for the refutation of Pagan error, 
but cannot lead us to believe in these writers. For while they spoke, because they could not 
help it, of the God whom we worship, they either taught their fellow-countrymen to worship 
idols and demons, or allowed them to do so without daring to protest against it. But our 
sacred writers, with the authority and assistance of God, were the means of establishing and 
preserving among their people a government under which heathen customs were condemned 
as sacrilege. If any among this people fell into idolatry or demon-worship, they were either 
punished by the laws, or met by the awful denunciations of the prophets. They worshipped 
one God, the maker of heaven and earth. They had rites; but these rites were prophetic, or 
symbolical of things to come, and were to cease on the appearance of the things signified. 
The whole state was one great prophet, with its king and priest symbolically anointed which 
was discontinued, not by the wish of the Jews themselves, who were in ignorance through 
unbelief, but only on the coming of Him who was God, anointed with spiritual grace above 
His fellows, the holy of holies, the true King who should govern us, the true Priest who 


516 Dan. ii. 34, 35. 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


should offer Himself for us. In a word, the predictions of heathen ingenuity regarding 
Christ’s coming are as different from sacred prophecy as the confession of devils from the 
proclamation of angels. 

16. By such arguments, which might be expanded if we were discussing with one brought 
up in heathenism, and might be supported by proofs in still greater number, the inquirer 
whom Faustus has brought before us would certainly be led to believe, unless he preferred 
his sins to his salvation. As a believer, he would be taken to be cherished in the bosom of 
the Catholic Church, and would be taught in due course the conduct required of him. He 
would see many who do not practise the required duties; but this would not shake his faith, 
even though these people should belong to the same Church and partake of the same sacra- 
ments as himself. He would understand that few share in the inheritance of God, while 
many partake in its outward signs; that few are united in holiness of life, and in the gift of 
love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us, which is a hidden spring 
that no stranger can approach; and that many join in the solemnity of the sacrament, which 
he that eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, while he who neglects 
to eat it shall not have life in him, and so shall never reach eternal life. He will understand, 
too, that the good are called few as compared with the multitude of the evil, but that as 
scattered over the world there are very many growing among the tares, and mixed with the 
chaff, till the day of harvest and of purging. As this is taught in the Gospel, so is it foretold 

C 1 Q 

by the prophets. We read, "As a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among the daughters;' 
and again, "I have dwelt in the tabernacles of Kedar; peaceful among them that hated 
peace;” 519 and again, "Mark in the forehead those who sigh and cry for the iniquities of my 

con 

people, which are done in the midst of them." The inquirer would be confirmed by such 
passages; and being now a fellow- citizen with the saints and of the household of God, no 
longer an alien from Israel, but an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile, would learn to utter 
from a guileless heart the words which follow in the passage of Jeremiah already quoted, "O 
Lord, the patience of Israel: let all that forsake Thee be dismayed." After speaking of the 
partridge that is clamorous, and gathers what it has not brought forth; and after extolling 
the city set on an hill which cannot be hid, to prevent heretics from drawing men away from 
the Catholic Church; after the words, "A glorious high throne is our sanctuary," he seems 
to ask himself, What do we make of all those evil men who are found mixed with the Church, 
and who become more numerous as the Church extends, and as all nations are united in 
Christ? And then follow the words, "O Lord, the patience of Israel." Patience is necessary 


517 John vi. 54. 

518 Cant. ii. 2. 

519 Ps. cxx. 7. 
Ezek. ix. 1. 


520 


353 


Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


r'y i 

to obey the command, "Suffer both to grow together till the harvest." Impatience towards 
the evil might lead to forsaking the good, who in the strict sense are the body of Christ, and 
to forsake them would be to forsake Him. So the prophet goes on to say, "Let all that forsake 
Thee be dismayed; let those who have departed to the earth be confounded." The earth is 
man trusting in himself, and inducing others to trust in him. So the prophet adds: "Let 
them be overthrown, for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of life." This is the cry 
of the partridge, that it has got the fountain of life, and will give it; and so men are gathered 
to it, and depart from Christ, as if Christ, whose name they had professed, had not fulfilled 
His promise. The partridge gathers those whom it has not brought forth. And in order to 
do this, it declares, The salvation which Christ promises is with me; I will give it. In oppos- 
ition to this the prophet says: "Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall 
be saved." So we read in the apostle, "Let no man glory in men;" or in the words of the 
prophet, "Thou art my praise." Such is a specimen of instruction in apostolic and 
prophetic doctrine, by which a man may be built on the foundation of the apostles and 
prophets. 

17. Faustus has not told us how he would prove the divinity of Christ to the heathen, 
whom he makes to say: I believe neither the prophets in support of Christ, nor Christ in 
support of the prophets. It would be absurd to suppose that such a man would believe what 
Christ says of Himself, when he disbelieves what He says of others. For if he thinks Him 
unworthy of credit in one case, he must think Him so in all, or at least more so when 
speaking of Himself than when speaking of others. Perhaps, failing this, Faustus would read 
to him the Sibyls and Orpheus, and any heathen prophecies about Christ that he could find. 
But how could he do this, when he confesses that he knows none? His words are: "If, as is 
said, any prophecies of Christ are to be found in the Sibyl, or in Hermes, called Trismegistus, 
or Orpheus, or any heathen poet." How could he read writings of which he knows nothing, 
and which he supposes to exist only from report, to one who will not believe either the 
prophets or Christ? What, then, would he do? Would he bring forward Manichaeus as a 
witness to Christ? The opposite of this is what the Manichaeans do. They take advantage 
of the widespread fragrance of the name of Christ to gain acceptance for Manichaeus, that 
the edge of their poisoned cup may be sweetened with this honey. Taking hold of the 
promises of Christ to His disciples that He would send the Paraclete, that is, the Comforter 
or Advocate, they say that this Paraclete is Manichaeus, or in Manichaeus, and so steal an 
entrance into the minds of men who do not know when He who was promised by Christ 
really came. Those who have read the canonical book called the Acts of the Apostles find 


521 Matt. xiii. 30. 

522 1 Cor. iii. 21. 

523 Jer. xvii. 14. 


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Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


a reference to Christ’s promise, and an account of its fulfillment. Faustus, then, has no proof 
to give to the inquirer. It is not likely that any one will be so infatuated as to take the authority 
of Manichseus when he rejects that of Christ. Would he not reply in derision, if not in anger, 
Why do you ask me to believe Persian books, when you forbid me to believe Hebrew books? 
The Manichaean has no hold on the inquirer, unless he is already in some way convinced 
of the truth of Christianity. When he finds him willing to believe Christ, then he deludes 
him with the representation of Christ given by Manichaeus. So the partridge gathers what 
it has not brought forth. When will you whom he gathers leave him? When will you see 
him to be a fool, who tells you that Hebrew testimony is worthless in the case of unbelievers, 
and superfluous to believers? 

18. If believers are to throw away all the books which have led them to believe, I see no 
reason why they should continue reading the Gospel itself. The Gospel, too, must be 
worthless to this inquirer, who, according to Faustus’ pitiful supposition, rejects with ridicule 
the authority of Christ. And to the believer it must be superfluous, if true notices of Christ 
are superfluous to believers. And if the Gospel should be read by the believer, that he may 
not forget what he has believed, so should the prophets, that he may not forget why he be- 
lieved. For if he forgets this his faith cannot be firm. By this principle, you should throw 
away the books of Manichaeus, on the authority of which you already believe that light — that 
is, God — fought with darkness, and that, in order to bind darkness, the light was first swal- 
lowed up and bound, and polluted and mangled by darkness, to be restored, and liberated, 
and purified, and healed by your eating, for which you are rewarded by not being condemned 
to the mass of darkness for ever, along with that part of the light which cannot be extricated. 
This fiction is sufficiently published by your practice and your words. Why do you seek for 
the testimony of books, and add to the embarrassment of your God by the consumption of 
strength in the needless task of writing manuscripts? Burn all your parchments, with their 
finely-ornamented binding; so you will be rid of a useless burden, and your God who suffers 
confinement in the volume will be set free. What a mercy it would be to the members of 
your God, if you could boil your books and eat them! There might be a difficulty, however, 
from the prohibition of animal food. Then the writing must share in the impurity of the 
sheepskin. Indeed, you are to blame for this, for, like what you say was done in the first war 
between light and darkness, you brought what was clean in the pen in contact with the un- 
cleanness of the parchment. Or perhaps, for the sake of the colors, we may put it the other 
way; and so the darkness would be yours, in the ink which you brought against the light of 
the white pages. If these remarks irritate you, you should rather be angry with yourselves 
for believing doctrines of which these are the necessary consequences. As for the books of 
the apostles and prophets, we read them as a record of our faith, to encourage our hope and 
animate our love. These books are in perfect harmony with one another; and their harmony, 
like the music of a heavenly trumpet, wakens us from the torpor of worldliness, and urges 


355 



Faustus asserts that even if the Old Testament could be shown to contain... 


us on to the prize of our high calling. The apostle, after quoting from the prophets the 
words, "The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on me," goes on to speak of the 
benefit of reading the prophets: "For whatsoever things were written beforetime were 
written for our learning; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might 
have hope." 524 If Faustus denies this, we can only say with Paul, "If any one shall preach 

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to you another doctrine than that ye have received, let him be accursed." 


524 Rom. xv. 4. 

525 Gal. i. 9. 


356 


Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


Book XIV. 

Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. Augustin expounds 
the Christian doctrine of the suffering Saviour by comparing Old and New Testament 
passages. 

1. Faustus said: If you ask why we do not believe Moses, it is on account of our love 
and reverence for Christ. The most reckless man cannot regard with pleasure a person who 
has cursed his father. So we abhor Moses, not so much for his blasphemy of everything 
human and divine, as for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ the Son of God, 
who for our salvation hung on the tree. Whether Moses did this intentionally or not is your 
concern. Either way, he cannot be excused, or considered worthy of belief. His words are, 

cm r 

"Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." You tell me to believe this man, though, if 
he was inspired, he must have cursed Christ knowingly and intentionally; and if he did it 
in ignorance, he cannot have been divine. Take either alternative. Moses was no prophet, 
and while cursing in his usual manner, he fell ignorantly into the sin of blasphemy against 
God. Or he was indeed divine, and foresaw the future; and from ill-will to our salvation, 
he directs the venom of his malediction against Him who was to accomplish that salvation 
on a tree. He who thus injures the Son cannot surely have seen or known the Father. He 
who knew nothing of the final ascension of the Son, cannot surely have foretold His advent. 
Moreover, the extent of the injury inflicted by this curse is to be considered. For it denounces 
all the righteous men and martyrs, and sufferers of every kind, who have died in this way, 
as Peter and Andrew, and the rest. Such a cruel denunciation could never have come from 
Moses if he had been a prophet, unless he was a bitter enemy of these sufferers. For he 
pronounces them cursed not only of men but of God. What hope, then, of blessing remains 
to Christ, or his apostles, or to us if we happen to be crucified for Christ’s sake? It indicates 
great thoughtlessness in Moses, and the want of all divine inspiration, that he overlooked 
the fact that men are hung on a tree for very different reasons, some for their crimes, and 
others who suffer in the cause of God and of righteousness. In this thoughtless way lie heaps 
all together without distinction under the same curse; whereas if he had had any sense, not 
to say inspiration, if he wished to single out the punishment of the cross from all others as 
specially detestable, he would have said, Cursed is every guilty and impious person that 
hangeth on a tree. This would have made a distinction between the guilty and the innocent. 
And yet even this would have been incorrect, for Christ took the malefactor from the cross 
along with himself into the Paradise of his Father. What becomes of the curse on every one 
that hangeth on a tree? Was Barabbas, the notorious robber, who certainly was not hung 
on a tree, but was set free from prison at the request of the Jews, more blessed than the thief 


526 Deut. xxi. 23. 


357 


Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


who accompanied Christ from the cross to heaven? Again, there is a curse on the man that 
worships the sun or the moon. Now if under a heathen monarch I am forced to worship 
the sun, and if from fear of this curse I refuse, shall I incur this other curse by suffering the 
punishment of crucifixion? Perhaps Moses was in the habit of cursing everything good. 
We think no more of his denunciation than of an old wife’s scolding. So we find him pro- 
nouncing a curse on all youths of both sexes, when he says: "Cursed is every one that raiseth 
not up a seed in Israel." This is aimed directly at Jesus, who, according to you, was born 
among the Jews, and raised up no seed to continue his family. It points too at his disciples, 
some of whom he took from the wives they had married, and some who were unmarried 
he forbade to take wives. We have good reason, you see, for expressing our abhorrence of 
the daring style in which Moses hurls his maledictions against Christ, against light, against 
chastity, against everything divine. You cannot make much of the distinction between 
hanging on a tree and being crucified, as you often try to do by way of apology; for Paul re- 
pudiates such a distinction when he says, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the 

c ? o 

law, being made a curse for us; as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." 

2. Augustin replied: The pious Faustus is pained because Christ is cursed by Moses. 
His love for Christ makes him hate Moses. Before explaining the sacred import and the 
piety of the words, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," I would ask these pious 
people why they are angry with Moses, since his curse does not affect their Christ. If Christ 
hung on the tree, He must have been fastened to it with nails, the marks of which He showed 
to His doubting disciple after His resurrection. Accordingly He must have had a vulnerable 
and mortal body, which the Manichaeans deny. Call the wounds and the marks false, and 
it follows that His hanging on the tree was false. This Christ is not affected by the curse, 
and there is no occasion for this indignation against the person uttering the curse. If they 
pretend to be angry with Moses for cursing what they call the false death of Christ, what are 
we to think of themselves, who do not curse Christ, but, what is much worse, make Him a 
liar? If it is wrong to curse mortality, it is a much more heinous offense to sully the purity 
of truth. But let us make these heretical cavils an occasion for explaining this mystery to 
believers. 

3. Death comes upon man as the punishment of sin, and so is itself called sin; not that 
a man sins in dying, but because sin is the cause of his death. So the word tongue, which 
properly means the fleshy substance between the teeth and the palate, is applied in a second- 
ary sense to the result of the tongue’s action. In this sense we speak of a Latin tongue and 
a Greek tongue. The word hand, too, means both the members of the body we use in 
working, and the writing which is done with the hand. In this sense we speak of writing as 


527 Deut. xxv. 5-10. 

528 Gal. iii. 10. 


358 


Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


being proved to be the hand of a certain person, or of recognizing the hand of a friend. The 
writing is certainly not a member of the body, but the name hand is given to it because it is 
the hand that does it. So sin means both a bad action deserving punishment, and death the 
consequence of sin. Christ has no sin in the sense of deserving death, but He bore for our 
sakes sin in the sense of death as brought on human nature by sin. This is what hung on 
the tree; this is what was cursed by Moses. Thus was death condemned that its reign might 
cease, and cursed that it might be destroyed. By Christ’s taking our sin in this sense, its 
condemnation is our deliverance, while to remain in subjection to sin is to be condemned. 

4. What does Faustus find strange in the curse pronounced on sin, on death, and on 
human mortality, which Christ had on account of man’s sin, though He Himself was sinless? 
Christ’s body was derived from Adam, for His mother the Virgin Mary was a child of Adam. 
But God said in Paradise, "On the day that ye eat, ye shall surely die." This is the curse which 
hung on the tree. A man may deny that Christ was cursed who denies that He died. But 
the man who believes that Christ died, and acknowledges that death is the fruit of sin, and 
is itself called sin, will understand who it is that is cursed by Moses, when he hears the apostle 

con 

saying "For our old man is crucified with Him." The apostle boldly says of Christ, "He 
was made a curse for us;" for he could also venture to say, "He died for all." "He died," and 
"He was cursed," are the same. Death is the effect of the curse; and all sin is cursed, whether 
it means the action which merits punishment, or the punishment which follows. Christ, 
though guiltless, took our punishment, that He might cancel our guilt, and do away with 
our punishment. 

5. These things are not my conjectures, but are affirmed constantly by the apostle, with 
an emphasis sufficient to rouse the careless and to silence the gainsayers. "God," he says, 

coo 

"sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, that by sin He might condemn sin in the flesh." 
Christ’s flesh was not sinful, because it was not born of Mary by ordinary generation; but 
because death is the effect of sin, this flesh, in being mortal, had the likeness of sinful flesh. 
This is called sin in the following words, "that by sin He might condemn sin in the flesh." 
Again he says: "He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made 

co 1 

the righteousness of God in Him." Why should not Moses call accursed what Paul calls 
sin? In this prediction the prophet claims a share with the apostle in the reproach of the 
heretics. For whoever finds fault with the word cursed in the prophet, must find fault with 
the word sin in the apostle; for curse and sin go together. 

6. If we read, "Cursed of God is every one that hangeth on a tree," the addition of the 
words "of God" creates no difficulty. For had not God hated sin and our death, He would 


529 Rom. vi. 6. 


530 Rom. viii. 3. 

531 2 Cor. v. 21. 


359 


Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


not have sent His Son to bear and to abolish it. And there is nothing strange in God’s 
cursing what He hates. For His readiness to give us the immortality which will be had at 
the coming of Christ, is in proportion to the compassion with which He hated our death 
when it hung on the cross at the death of Christ. And if Moses curses every one that hangeth 
on a tree, it is certainly not because he did not foresee that righteous men would be crucified, 
but rather because He foresaw that heretics would deny the death of the Lord to be real, and 
would try to disprove the application of this curse to Christ, in order that they might disprove 
the reality of His death. For if Christ’s death was not real, nothing cursed hung on the cross 
when He was crucified, for the crucifixion cannot have been real. Moses cries from the 
distant past to these heretics: Your evasion in denying the reality of the death of Christ is 
useless. Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; not this one or that, but absolutely every 
one. What! the Son of God? Yes, assuredly. This is the very thing you object to, and that 
you are so anxious to evade. You will not allow that He was cursed for us, because you will 
not allow that He died for us. Exemption from Adam’s curse implies exemption from his 
death. But as Christ endured death as man, and for man; so also, Son of God as He was, 
ever living in His own righteousness, but dying for our offences, He submitted as man, and 
for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He 
took in bearing our punishment, so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He 
was cursed for our offences, in the death which He suffered in bearing our punishment. 
And these words "every one" are intended to check the ignorant officiousness which would 
deny the reference of the curse to Christ, and so, because the curse goes along with death, 
would lead to the denial of the true death of Christ. 

7. The believer in the true doctrine of the gospel will understand that Christ is not re- 
proached by Moses when he speaks of Him as cursed, not in His divine majesty, but as 
hanging on the tree as our substitute, bearing our punishment, any more than He is praised 
by the Manichaeans when they deny that He had a mortal body, so as to suffer real death. 
In the curse of the prophet there is praise of Christ’s humility, while in the pretended regard 
of the heretics there is a charge of falsehood. If, then, you deny that Christ was cursed, you 
must deny that He died; and then you have to meet, not Moses, but the apostles. Confess 
that He died, and you may also confess that He, without taking our sin, took its punishment. 
Now the punishment of sin cannot be blessed, or else it would be a thing to be desired. The 
curse is pronounced by divine justice, and it will be well for us if we are redeemed from it. 
Confess then that Christ died, and you may confess that He bore the curse for us; and that 
when Moses said, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," he said in fact, To hang on 
a tree is to be mortal, or actually to die. He might have said, "Cursed is every one that is 
mortal," or "Cursed is every one dying;" but the prophet knew that Christ would suffer on 
the cross, and that heretics would say that He hung on the tree only in appearance, without 
really dying. So he exclaims, Cursed; meaning that He really died. He knew that the death 


360 



Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


of sinful man, which Christ though sinless bore, came from that curse, "If ye touch it, ye 
shall surely die." Thus also, the serpent hung on the pole was intended to show that Christ 
did not feign death, but that the real death into which the serpent by his fatal counsel cast 
mankind was hung on the cross of Christ’s passion. The Manichaeans turn away from the 
view of this real death, and so they are not healed of the poison of the serpent, as we read 
that in the wilderness as many as looked were healed. 

8. It is true, some ignorantly distinguish between hanging on a tree and being crucified. 
So some explain this passage as referring to Judas. But how do they know whether he hung 
himself from wood or from stone? Faustus is right in saying that the apostle obliges us to 
refer the words to Christ. Such ignorant Catholics are the prey of the Manichaeans. Such 
they get hold of and entangle in their sophistry. Such were we when we fell into this heresy, 
and adhered to it. Such were we, when, not by our own strength, but by the mercy of God, 
we were rescued. 

9. What attacks on divine things does Faustus speak of when he charges Moses with 
sparing nothing human or divine? He makes the charge without stopping to prove it. We 
know, on the contrary, that Moses gave due praise to everything really divine, and in human 
affairs was a just ruler, considering his times and the grace of his dispensation. It will be 
time to prove this when we see any proof of Faustus’ charges. It maybe clever to make such 
charges cautiously, but there is great incaution in the cleverness which ruins its possessor. 
It is good to be clever on the side of truth, but it is a poor thing to be clever in opposition 
to the truth. Faustus says that Moses spared nothing human or divine; not that he spared 
no god or man. If he said that Moses did not spare God, it could easily be shown in reply 
that Moses everywhere does honor to the true God, whom he declares to be the Maker of 
heaven and earth. Again, if he said that Moses spared none of the gods, he would betray 
himself to Christians as a worshipper of the false gods that Moses denounces; and so he 
would be prevented from gathering what he has not brought forth, by the brood taking 
refuge under the wings of the Mother Church. Faustus tries to ensnare the babes, by saying 
that Moses spared nothing divine, wishing not to frighten Christians with a profession of 
belief in the gods, which would be plainly opposed to Christianity, and at the same time 
appearing to take the side of the Pagans against us; for they know that Moses has said many 
plain and pointed things against the idols and gods of the heathen, which are devils. 

10. If the Manichaeans disapprove of Moses on this account, let them confess that they 
are worshippers of idols and devils. This, indeed, may be the case without their being aware 
of it. The apostle tells us that "in the last days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed 
to seducing spirits, and to doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy." Whence but 
from devils, who are fond of falsehood, could the idea have come that Christ’s sufferings 


532 1 Tim. iv. 1, 2. 


361 


Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


and death were unreal, and that the marks which He showed of His wounds were unreal? 
Are these not the doctrines of lying devils, which teach that Christ, the Truth itself, was a 
deceiver? Besides, the Manichaeans openly teach the worship, if not of devils, still of created 
things, which the apostle condemns in the words, "They worshipped and served the creature 
rather than the Creator." 533 

1 1 . As there is an unconscious worship of idols and devils in the fanciful legends of the 
Manichaeans, so they knowingly serve the creature in their worship of the sun and moon. 
And in what they call their service of the Creator they really serve their own fancy, and not 
the Creator at all. For they deny that God created those things which the apostle plainly 
declares to be the creatures of God, when he says of food, "Every creature of God is good, 
and nothing to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving." 534 This is sound doctrine, 
which you cannot bear, and so turn to fables. The apostle praises the creature of God, but 
forbids the worship of it; and in the same way Moses gives due praise to the sun and moon, 
while at the same time he states the fact of their having been made by God, and placed by 
Him in their courses, — the sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night. Probably 
you think Moses spared nothing divine, simply because he forbade the worship of the sun 
and moon, whereas you turn towards them in all directions in your worship. But the sun 
and moon take no pleasure in your false praises. It is the devil, the transgressor, that delights 
in false praises. The powers of heaven, who have not fallen by sin, wish their Creator to be 
praised in them; and their true praise is that which does no wrong to their Creator. He is 
wronged when they are said to be His members, or parts of His substance. For He is perfect 
and independent, underived, not divided or scattered in space, but unchangeably self-existent, 
self-sufficient, and blessed in Himself. In the abundance of His goodness, He by His word 
spoke, and they were made: He commanded, and they were created. And if earthly bodies 
are good, of which the apostle spoke when he said that no food is unclean, because every 
creature of God is good, much more the heavenly bodies, of which the sun and moon are 
the chief; for the apostle says again, "The glory of the terrestrial is one, and the glory of the 
celestial is another." 535 

12. Moses, then, casts no reproach on the sun and moon when he prohibits their wor- 
ship. He praises them as heavenly bodies; while he also praises God as the Creator of both 
heavenly and earthly, and will not allow of His being insulted by giving the worship due to 


533 Rom. i. 25. 

534 1 Tim. iv. 4. 

535 1 Cor. xv. 40. 


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Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


Him to those who are praised only as dependent upon Him. Faustus prides himself on the 
ingenuity of his objection to the curse pronounced by Moses on the worship of the sun and 
moon. He says, "If under a heathen monarch I am forced to worship the sun, and if from 
fear of this curse I refuse, shall I incur this other curse by suffering the punishment of cruci- 
fixion?" No heathen monarch is forcing you to worship the sun: nor would the sun itself 
force you, if it were reigning on the earth, as neither does it now wish to be worshipped. 
As the Creator bears with blasphemers till the judgment, so these celestial bodies bear with 
their deluded worshippers till the judgment of the Creator. It should be observed that no 
Christian monarch could enforce the worship of the sun. Faustus instances a heathen 
monarch, for he knows that their worship of the sun is a heathen custom. Yet, in spite of 
this opposition to Christianity, the partridge takes the name of Christ, that it may gather 
what it has not brought forth. The answer to this objection is easy, and the force of truth 
will soon break the horns of this dilemma. Suppose, then, a Christian threatened by royal 
authority with being hung on a tree if he will not worship the sun. If I avoid, you say, the 
curse pronounced by the law on the worshipper of the sun, I incur the curse pronounced 
by the same law on him that hangs on a tree. So you will be in a difficulty; only that you 
worship the sun without being forced by anybody. But a true Christian, built on the 
foundation of the apostles and prophets, distinguishes the curses, and the reasons of them. 
He sees that one refers to the mortal body which is hung on the tree, and the other to the 
mind which worships the sun. For though the body bows in worship, — which also is a 
heinous offence, — the belief or imagination of the object worshipped is an act of the mind. 
The death implied in both curses is in one case the death of the body, and in the other the 
death of the soul. It is better to have the curse in bodily death, — which will be removed in 
the resurrection, — than the curse in the death of the soul, condemning it along with the 
body to eternal fire. The Lord solves this difficulty in the words: "Fear not them that kill 
the body, but cannot kill the soul; but fear him who has power to cast both soul and body 
into hell-fire." In other words, fear not the curse of bodily death, which in time is removed; 

but fear the curse of spiritual death, which leads to the eternal torment of both soul and 
body. Be assured, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree is no old wife’s railing, but a 
prophetical utterance. Christ, by the curse, takes the curse away, as He takes away death by 
death, and sin by sin. In the words, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," there is 
no more blasphemy than in the words of the apostle, "He died," or, "Our old man was cruci- 
fied along with Him," or, "By sin He condemned sin," or, "He made Him to be sin for 

con 

us who knew no sin," and in many similar passages. Confess, then, that when you exclaim 


536 Matt. x. 28. 

537 Rom. vi. 6. 

538 


539 


Rom. viii. 3. 
2 Cor. v. 21. 


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Faustus abhors Moses for the awful curse he has pronounced upon Christ. ... 


against the curse of Christ, you exclaim against His death. If this is not an old wife’s railing 
on your part, it is devilish delusion, which makes you deny the death of Christ because your 
own souls are dead. You teach people that Christ’s death was feigned, making Christ your 
leader in the falsehood with which you use the name of Christian to mislead men. 

13. If Faustus thinks Moses an enemy of continence or virginity because he says, "Cursed 
is everyone that raiseth not up seed in Israel," let them hear the words of Isaiah: "Thus saith 
the Lord to all eunuchs; To them who keep my precepts, and choose the things that please 
me, and regard my covenant, will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name 
better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be 
cut off." 540 Though our adversaries disagree with Moses, if they agree with Isaiah it is 
something gained. It is enough for us to know that the same God spoke by both Moses and 
Isaiah, and that every one is cursed who raiseth not up seed in Israel, both then when beget- 
ting children in marriage (for the continuation of the people was a civil duty), and now be- 
cause no one spiritually born should rest content without seeking spiritual increase in the 
production of Christians by preaching Christ, each one according to his ability. So that the 
times of both Testaments are briefly described in the words, "Cursed is every one that raiseth 
not up seed in Israel." 541 


540 Isa. lvi. 4, 5. 

541 [In scarcely any other Manichaean record do we find the Manichaean hostility to Judaism expressed with 
so much ardor and with so much precision as in the blasphemous statements of Faustus in this treatise. — A.H.N.] 

364 


Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


Book XV. 

Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. Christ the one Bride- 
groom suffices for His Bride the Church. Augustin answers as well as he can, and reproves 
the Manichceans with presumption in claiming to be the Bride of Christ. 

1. Faustus said: Why do we not receive the Old Testament? Because when a vessel is 
full, what is poured on it is not received, but allowed to run over; and a full stomach rejects 
what it cannot hold. So the Jews, satisfied with the Old Testament, reject the New; and we 
who have received the New Testament from Christ, reject the Old. You receive both because 
you are only half filled with each, and the one is not completed, but corrupted by the other. 
For vessels half filled should not be filled up with anything of a different nature from what 
they already contain. If it contains wine, it should be filled up with wine, honey with honey, 
vinegar with vinegar. For to pour gall on honey, or water on wine, or alkalies on vinegar, 
is not addition, but adulteration. This is why we do not receive the Old Testament. Our 
Church, the bride of Christ, the poor bride of a rich bridegroom, is content with the posses- 
sion of her husband, and scorns the wealth of inferior lovers, and despises the gifts of the 
Old Testament and of its author, and from regard to her own character, receives only the 
letters of her husband. We leave the Old Testament to your Church, that, like a bride 
faithless to her spouse, delights in the letters and gifts of another. This lover who corrupts 
your chastity, the God of the Hebrews in his stone tablets promises you gold and silver, and 
abundance of food, and the land of Canaan. Such low rewards have tempted you to be un- 
faithful to Christ, after all the rich dowry bestowed by him. By such attractions the God of 
the Hebrews gains over the bride of Christ. You must know that you are cheated, and that 
these promises are false. This God is in poverty and beggary, and cannot do what he 
promises. For if he cannot give these things to the synagogue, his proper wife, who obeys 
him in all things like a servant, how can he bestow them on you who are strangers, and who 
proudly throw off his yoke from your necks? Go on, then, as you have begun, join the new 
cloth to the old garment, put the new wine in old bottles, serve two masters without pleasing 
either, make Christianity a monster, half horse and half man; but allow us to serve only 
Christ, content with his immortal dower, and imitating the apostle who says, "Our sufficiency 
is of God, who has made us able ministers of the New Testament." 542 In the God of the 
Hebrews we have no interest whatever; for neither can he perform his promises, nor do we 
desire that he should. The liberality of Christ has made us indifferent to the flatteries of this 
stranger. This figure of the relation of the wife to her husband is sanctioned by Paul, who 
says: "The woman that has a husband is bound to her husband as long as he liveth; but if 
her husband die, she is freed from the law of her husband. So, then, if while her husband 


542 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6. 


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Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


liveth she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be 
dead, she is not an adulteress, though she be married to another man." 543 Here he shows 
that there is a spiritual adultery in being united to Christ before repudiating the author of 
the law, and counting him, as it were, as dead. This applies chiefly to the Jews who believe 
in Christ, and who ought to forget their former superstition. We who have been converted 
to Christ from heathenism, look upon the God of the Hebrews not merely as dead, but as 
never having existed, and do not need to be told to forget him. A Jew, when he believes, 
should regard Adonai as dead; a Gentile should regard his idol as dead; and so with everything 
that has been held sacred before conversion. One who, after giving up idolatry, worships 
both the God of the Hebrews and Christ, is like an abandoned woman, who after the death 
of one husband marries two others. 

2. Augustin replied: Let all who have given their hearts to Christ say whether they can 
listen patiently to these things, unless Christ Himself enable them. Faustus, full of the new 
honey, rejects the old vinegar; and Paul, full of the old vinegar, has poured out half that the 
new honey may be poured in, not to be kept, but to be corrupted. When the apostle calls 
himself a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 
this is the new honey. But when he adds, "which He promised before by His prophets in 
the Holy Scriptures of His Son, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh," 544 
this is the old vinegar. Who could bear to hear this, unless the apostle himself consoled us 
by saying: "There must be heresies, that they which are approved may be made manifest 
among you?" 545 Why should we repeat what we said already? 546 — that the new cloth and 
the old garment, the new wine and the old bottles, mean not two Testaments, but two lives 
and two hopes, — that the relation of the two Testaments is figuratively described by the 
Lord when He says: "Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of God is like an 
householder bringing out of his treasure things new and old." 547 The reader may remember 
this as said before, or he may find it on looking back. For if any one tries to serve God with 
two hopes, one of earthly felicity, and the other of the kingdom of heaven, the two hopes 
cannot agree; and when the latter is shaken by some affliction, the former will be lost too. 
Thus it is said, No man can serve two masters; which Christ explains thus: "Ye cannot serve 

rjo 

God and Mammon." But to those who rightly understand it, the Old Testament is a 
prophecy of the New. Even in that ancient people, the holy patriarchs and prophets, who 


543 

Rom. vii. 2, 3. 

544 

Rom. i. 1-3. 

545 

1 Cor. xi. 19. 

546 

Lib. viii. 

547 

Matt. xiii. 52. 

548 

Matt. vi. 24. 


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Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


understood the part they performed, or which they were instrumental in performing, had 
this hope of eternal life in the NewTestament. They belonged to the NewTestament, because 
they understood and loved it, though revealed only in figure. Those belonging to the Old 
Testament were the people who cared for nothing else but the temporal promises, without 
understanding them as significant of eternal things. But all this has already been more than 
enough insisted on. 

3. It is amazingly bold in the impious and impure sect of the Manichaeans to boast of 
being the chaste bride of Christ. All the effect of such a boast on the really chaste members 
of the holy Church is to remind them of the apostle’s warning against deceivers: "I have 
joined you to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear lest, as the 
serpent deceived Eve by his guile, so your minds also should be corrupted from the purity 
which is in Christ." 549 What else do those preachers of another gospel than that which we 
have received try to do, but to corrupt us from the purity which we preserve for Christ, 
when they stigmatize the law of God as old, and praise their own falsehoods as new, as if all 
that is new must be good, and all that is old bad? The Apostle John, however, praises the 
old commandment, and the Apostle Paul bids us avoid novelties in doctrine. As an unworthy 
son and servant of the Catholic Church, the true bride of the true Christ, I too, as appointed 
to give out food to my fellow-servants, would speak to her a word of counsel. Continue 
ever to shun the profane errors of the Manichaeans, which have been tried by the experience 
of thine own children, and condemned by their recovery. By that heresy I was once separated 
from thy fellowship, and after running into danger which ought to have been avoided, I es- 
caped. Restored to thy service, my experience may perhaps be profitable to thee. Unless 
thy true and truthful Bridegroom, from whose side thou wert made, had obtained the remis- 
sion of sins through His own real blood, the gulf of error would have swallowed me up; I 
should have become dust, and been devoured by the serpent. Be not misled by the name 
of truth. The truth is in thine own milk, and in thine own bread. They have the name only, 
and not the thing. Thy full-grown children, indeed, are secure; but I speak to thy babes, my 
brothers, and sons, and masters, whom thou, the virgin mother, fertile as pure, dost cherish 
into life under thine anxious wings, or dost nourish with the milk of infancy. I call upon 
these, thy tender offspring, not to be seduced by noisy vanities, but rather to pronounce 
accursed any one that preaches to them another gospel than that which they have received 
in thee. I call upon these not to leave the true and truthful Christ, in whom are hid all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not to forsake the abundance of His goodness which 
He has laid up for them that fear Him, and has wrought for them that trust in Him. 550 How 
can they expect to find truthful words in one who preaches an untruthful Christ? Scorn the 


549 2 Cor. xi. 2, 3. 

550 Ps. xxxi. 19. 


367 


Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


reproaches cast on thee, for thou knowest well that the gift which thou desirest from thy 
Bridegroom is eternal life, for He Himself is eternal life. 

4. It is a silly falsehood that thou hast been seduced to another God, who promises 
abundance of food and the land of Canaan. For thou canst perceive how the saints of old, 
who were also thy children, were enlightened by these figures which were prophecies of 
thee. Thou needest not regard the poor jest against the stone tablets, for the stony heart of 
which they were in old times a figure is not in thee. For thou art an epistle of the apostles, 
"written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on 
the fleshy tables of the heart." 551 Our opponents ignorantly think that these words are in 
their favor, and that the apostle finds fault with the dispensation of the Old Testament, 
whereas they are the words of the prophet. This utterance of the apostles was a fulfillment 
of the long anterior utterances of the prophet whom the Manichaeans rej ect, for they believe 
the apostles without understanding them. The prophet says: "I will take away from them 

rco 

the stony heart, and I will give them a heart of flesh." What is this but "Not on tables of 
stones but on the fleshy tables of the heart"? For by the heart of flesh and the fleshy tables 
is not meant a carnal understanding: but as flesh feels, whereas a stone cannot, the insens- 
ibility of stone signifies an unintelligent heart, and the sensibility of flesh signifies an intelli- 
gent heart. Instead, then, of scoffing at thee, they deserve to be ridiculed who say that earth, 
and wood, and stones have sense, and that their life is more intelligent than animal life. So, 
not to speak of the truth, even their own fiction obliges them to confess that the law written 
on tables of stone was purer than their sacred parchments. Or perhaps they prefer sheepskin 
to stone, because their legends make stones the bones of princes. In any case, the ark of the 
Old Testament was a cleaner covering for the tables of stone than the goatskin of their ma- 
nuscripts. Laugh at these things, while pitying them, to show their falsehood and absurdity. 
With a heart no longer stony, thou canst see in these stone tablets a suitableness to that 
hard-hearted people; and at the same time thou canst find even there the stone, thy Bride- 
groom, described by Peter as "a living stone, rejected by men, but chosen of God, and pre- 
cious." To them He was "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence;" but to thee, "the stone 

cn 

which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner." This is all explained by 
Peter, and is quoted from the prophets, with whom these heretics have nothing to do. Fear 
not, then, to read these tablets — they are from thy Husband; to others the stone was a sign 
of insensibility, but to thee of strength and stability. With the finger of God these tablets 
were written; with the finger of God thy Lord cast out devils; with the finger of God drive 
thou away the doctrines of lying devils which sear the conscience. With these tablets thou 


551 2 Cor. iii. 2, 3. 

552 Ezek. xi. 19. 


553 1 Pet. ii. 4-8. 


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Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


canst confound the seducer who calls himself the Paraclete, that he may impose upon thee 
by a sacred name. For on the fiftieth day after the passover the tables were given; and on 
the fiftieth day after the passion of thy Bride-groom — of whom the passover was a type — the 
finger of God, the Holy Spirit, the promised Paraclete, was given. Fear not the tablets which 
convey to thee ancient writings now made plain. Only be not under the law, lest fear prevent 
thy fulfilling it; but be under grace, that love, which is the fulfilling of the law, may be in 
thee. For it was in a review of these very tablets that the friend of thy Bridegroom said: "For 
thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not murder, Thou shalt not covet, and if there 
be any other commandment, it is contained in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 
thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." 554 
One table contains the precept of love to God, and the other of love to man. And He who 
first sent these tablets Himself came to enjoin those precepts on which hang the law and the 
prophets. 555 In the first precept is the chastity of thy espousals; in the second is the unity 
of thy members. In the one thou art united to divinity; in the other thou dost gather a society. 
And these two precepts are identical with the ten, of which three relate to God, and seven 
to our neighbor. Such is the chaste tablet in which thy Lover and thy Beloved of old pre- 
figured to thee the new song on a psaltery of ten strings; Himself to be extended on the cross 
for thee, that by sin He might condemn sin in the flesh, and that the righteouness of the law 
might be fulfilled in thee. Such is the conjugal tablet, which may well be hated by the un- 
faithful wife. 

5. I turn now to thee, thou deluded and deluding congregation of Manichseus, — wedded 
to so many elements, or rather prostituted to so many devils, and impregnated with blas- 
phemous falsehoods, — dost thou dare to slander as unchaste the marriage of the Catholic 
Church with thy Lord? Behold thy lovers, one balancing creation, and the other bearing it 
up like Atlas. For one, by thy account, holds the sources of the elements, and hangs the 
world in space; while the other keeps him up by kneeling down and carrying the weight on 
his shoulders. Where are those beings? And if they are so occupied, how can they come to 
visit thee, to spend an idle hour in getting their shoulders or their fingers relieved by thy 
soft, soothing touch? But thou art deceived by evil spirits which commit adultery with thee, 
that thou mayest conceive falsehoods and bring forth vanities. Well mayest thou reject the 
message of the true God, as opposed to thy parchments, where in the vain imaginations of 
a wanton mind thou hast gone after so many false gods. The fictions of the poets are more 


554 Rom. xiii. 9, 10. 

555 Matt. xxii. 37-40. 


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Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


respectable than thine, in this at least, that they deceive no one; while the fables in thy books, 
by assuming an appearance of truth, mislead the childish, both young and old, and pervert 
their minds. As the apostle says, they have itching ears, and turn away from hearing the 
truth to listen to fables. 556 How shouldest thou bear the sound doctrine of these tables, 

rrn 

where the first commandment is, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord," when 
thy corrupt affections find shameful delight in so many false deities? Dost thou not remember 
thy love-song, where thou describest the chief ruler in perennial majesty, crowned with 
flowers, and of fiery countenance? To have even one such lover is shameful; for a chaste 
wife seeks not a husband crowned with flowers. And thou canst not say that this description 
or representation has a typical meaning, for thou art wont to praise Manichaeus for nothing 
more than for speaking to thee the simple naked truth without the disguise of figures. So 
the God of thy song is a real king, bearing a sceptre and crowned with flowers. When he 
wears a crown of flowers, he ought to put aside his sceptre; for effeminacy and majesty are 
incongruous. And then he is not thy only lover; for the song goes on to tell of twelve seasons 
clothed in flowers, and filled with song, throwing their flowers at their father’s face. These 
are twelve great gods of thine, three in each of the four regions surrounding the first deity. 
How this deity can be infinite, when he is thus circumscribed, no one can say. Besides, there 
are countless principalities, and hosts of gods, and troops of angels, which thou sayest were 
not created by God, but produced from His substance. 

6. Thou art thus convicted of worshipping gods without number; for thou canst not 
bear the sound doctrine which teaches that there is one Son of one God, and one Spirit of 
both. And these, instead of being without number, are not three Gods; for not only is their 
substance one and the same, but their operation by means of this substance is also one and 
the same, while they have a separate manifestation in the material creation. These things 
thou dost not understand, and canst not receive. Thou art full, as thou sayest, for thou art 
steeped in blasphemous absurdities. Will thou continue burying thyself under such 
crudities? Sing on, then, and open thine eyes, if thou canst, to thine own shame. In this 
doctrine of lying devils thou art invited to fabulous dwellings of angels in a happy clime, 
and to fragrant fields where nectar flows for ever from trees and hills, in seas and rivers. 
These are the fictions of thy foolish heart, which revels in such idle fancies. Such expressions 
are sometimes used as figurative descriptions of the abundance of spiritual enjoyments; and 
they lead the mind of the student to inquire into their hidden meaning. Sometimes there 
is a material representation to the bodily senses, as the fire in the bush, the rod becoming a 
serpent, and the serpent a rod, the garment of the Lord not divided by His persecutors, the 
anointing of His feet or of His head by a devout woman, the branches of the multitude 


556 2 Tim. iv. 4. 


557 Deut. vi. 4. 


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Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


preceding and following Him when riding on the ass. Sometimes, either in sleep or in a 
trance, the spirit is informed by means of figures taken from material things, as Jacob’s 
ladder, and the stone in Daniel cut out without hands and growing into a mountain, and 
Peter’s vessel, and all that John saw. Sometimes the figures are only in the language; as in 
the Song of Songs, and in the parable of a householder making a marriage for his son, or 
that of the prodigal son, or that of the man who planted a vineyard and let it out to husband- 
men. Thou boastest of Manichaeus as having come last, not to use figures, but to explain 

them. His expositions throw light on ancient types, and leave no problem unsolved. This 
idea is supported by the assertion that the ancient types, in vision or in action or in words, 
had in view the coming of Manichaeus, by whom they were all to be explained; while he, 
knowing that no one is to follow him, makes use of a style free from all figurative expressions. 
What, then, are those fields, and shady hills, and crowns of flowers, and fragrant odors, in 
which the desires of thy fleshly mind take pleasure? If they are not significant figures, they 
are either idle fancies or delirious dreams. If they are figures, away with the impostor who 
seduces thee with the promise of naked truth, and then mocks thee with idle tales. His 
ministers and his wretched deluded followers are wont to bait their hook with that saying 
of the apostle, "Now we see through a glass in a figure, but then face to face ." 558 As if, for- 
sooth, the Apostle Paul knew in part, and prophesied in part, and saw through a glass in a 
figure; whereas all this is removed at the coming of Manichaeus, who brings that which is 
perfect, and reveals the truth face to face. O fallen and shameless! still to continue uttering 
such folly, still feeding on the wind, still embracing the idols of thine own heart. Hast thou, 

then, seen face to face the king with the sceptre, and the crown of flowers, and the hosts of 
gods, and the great worldholder with six faces and radiant with light, and that other exalted 
ruler surrounded with troops of angels, and the invincible warrior with a spear in his right 
hand and a shield in his left, and the famous sovereign who moves the three wheels of fire, 
water, and wind, and Atlas, chief of all, bearing the world on his shoulders, and supporting 
himself on his arms? These, and a thousand other marvels, hast thou seen face to face, or 
are thy songs doctrines learned from lying devils, though thou knowest it not? Alas! 
miserable prostitute to these dreams, such are the vanities which thou drinkest up instead 
of the truth; and, drunk with this deadly poison, thou darest with this jest of the tablets to 
affront the matronly purity of the spouse of the only Son of God; because no longer under 
the tutorship of the law, but under the control of grace, neither proud in activity nor 
crouching in fear, she lives by faith, and hope, and love, the Israel in whom there is no guile, 
who hears what is written: "The Lord thy God is one God." This thou hearest not, and art 
gone a whoring after a multitude of false gods. 


558 1 Cor. xiii. 9. 


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Faustus rejects the Old Testament because it leaves no room for Christ. ... 


7. Of necessity these tables are against thee, for the second commandment is, "Thou 
shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;" whereas thou dost attribute the vanity 
of falsehood to Christ Himself, who, to remove the vanity of the fleshly mind, rose in a true 
body, visible to the bodily eye. So also the third commandment about the rest of the Sabbath 
is against thee, for thou art tossed about by a multitude of restless fancies. How these three 
commandments relate to the love of God, thou hast neither the power nor the will to under- 
stand. Shamefully headstrong and turbulent, thou hast reached the height of folly, vanity, 
and worthlessness; thy beauty is spoiled, and thine order perished. I know thee, for I was 
once the same. How shall I now teach thee that these three precepts relate to the love of 
God, of whom, and by whom, and in whom are all things? How canst thou understand this, 
when thy pernicious doctrines prevent thee from understanding and from obeying the 
seven precepts relating to the love of our neighbor, which is the bond of human society? 
The first of these precepts is, "Honor thy father and mother;" which Paul quotes as the first 
commandment with promise, and himself repeats the injunction. But thou art taught by 
thy doctrine of devils to regard thy parents as thine enemies, because their union brought 
thee into the bonds of flesh, and laid impure fetters even on thy god. The doctrine that the 
production of children is an evil, directly opposes the next precept, "Thou shall not commit 
adultery;" for those who believe this doctrine, in order that their wives may not conceive, 
are led to commit adultery even in marriage. They take wives, as the law declares, for the 
procreation of children; but from this erroneous fear of polluting the substance of the deity, 
their intercourse with their wives is not of a lawful character; and the production of children, 
which is the proper end of marriage, they seek to avoid. As the apostle long ago predicted 
of thee, thou dost indeed forbid to marry, for thou seekest to destroy the purpose of marriage. 
Thy doctrine turns marriage into an adulterous connection, and the bed-chamber into a 
brothel. This false doctrine leads in a similar way to the transgression of the commandment, 
"Thou shall not kill." For thou dost not give bread to the hungry, from fear of imprisoning 
in flesh the member of thy God. From fear of fancied murder, thou dost actually commit 
murder. For if thou wast to meet a beggar starving for want of food, by the law of God to 
refuse him food would be murder; while to give food would be murder by the law of 
Manichaeus. Not one commandment in the decalogue dost thou observe. If thou wert to 
abstain from theft, thou wouldst be guilty of allowing bread or food, whatever it might be, 
to undergo the misery of being devoured by a man of no merit, instead of running off with 
it to the laboratory of the stomach of thine elect; and so by theft saving thy god from the 
imprisonment with which he is threatened, and also from that from which he already suffers. 
Then, if thou art caught in the theft, wilt thou not swear by this god that thou art not guilty? 
For what will he do to thee when thou sayest to him, I swore by thee falsely, but it was for 
thy benefit; a regard for thine honor would have been fatal to thee? So the precept, Thou 
shall not bear false witness, will be broken, not only in thy testimony, but in thine oath, for 


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the sake of the liberation of the members of thy god. The commandment, "Thou shall not 
covet thy neighbor’s wife," is the only one which thy false doctrine does not oblige thee to 
break. But if it is unlawful to covet our neighbor’s wife, what must it be to excite covetousness 
in others? Remember thy beautiful gods and goddesses presenting themselves with the 
purpose of exciting desire in the male and female leaders of darkness, in order that the 
gratification of this passion might effect the liberation of this god, who is in confinement 
everywhere, and who requires the assistance of such self- degradation. The last command- 
ment, "Thou shall not covet the possessions of thy neighbor," it is wholly impossible for thee 
to obey. Does not this god of thine delude thee with the promise of making new worlds in 
a region belonging to another, to be the scene of thine imaginary triumph after thine ima- 
ginary conquest? In the desire for the accomplishment of these wild fancies, while at the 
same time thou believest that this land of darkness is in the closest neighborhood with thine 
own substance, thou certainly covetest the possessions of thy neighbor. Well indeed mayest 
thou dislike the tables which contain such good precepts in opposition to thy false doctrine. 
The three relating to the love of God thou dost entirely set aside. The seven by which human 
society is preserved thou keepest only from a regard to the opinion of men, or from fear of 
human laws; or good customs make thee averse to some crimes; or thou art restrained by 
the natural principle of not doing to another what thou wouldst not have done to thyself. 
But whether thou doest what thou wouldst not have done to thyself, or refrainest from doing 
what thou wouldst not have done to thyself, thou seest the opposition of the heresy to the 
law, whether thou actest according to it or not. 

8. The true bride of Christ, whom thou hast the audacity to taunt with the stone tablets, 
knows the difference between the letter and the spirit, or in other words, between law and 
grace; and serving God no longer in the oldness of the letter, but in newness of spirit, she 
is not under the law, but under grace. She is not blinded by a spirit of controversy, but 
learns meekly from the apostle what is this law which we are not to be under; for "it was 
given," he says, "on account of transgression, till the seed should come to whom the promise 
was made." 559 And again: "It entered, that the offence might abound; but where sin 
abounded, grace has much more abounded." 560 Not that the law is sin, though it cannot 
give life without grace, but rather increases the guilt; for "where there is no law, there is no 
transgression." 561 The letter without the spirit, the law without grace, can only condemn. 
So the apostle explains his meaning, in case any should not understand: "What shall we say 
then? Is the law sin? God forbid. For I had not known sin but by the law. For I had not 
known lust unless the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the 


559 Gal. iii. 19. 

560 Rom. v. 20. 


561 Rom. iv. 15. 


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commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Therefore the law is holy, and the com- 
mandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? 

c/ro 

God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, wrought death in me by that which is good." 

She at whom thou scoffest knows what this means; for she asks earnestly, and seeks humbly, 
and knocks meekly. She sees that no fault is found with the law, when it is said, "The letter 
killeth, but the spirit giveth life," any more than with knowledge, when it is said, "Knowledge 
puffeth up, but love edifieth." The passage runs thus: "We know that we all have know- 
ledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth." The apostle certainly had no desire to be 
puffed up; but he had knowledge, because knowledge joined with love not only does not 
puff up, but strengthens. So the letter when joined with the spirit, and the law when joined 
with grace, is no longer the letter and the law in the same sense as when by itself it kills by 
abounding sin. In this sense the law is even called the strength of sin, because its strict 
prohibitions increase the fatal pleasure of sin. Even thus, however, the law is not evil; but 
"sin, that it may appear sin, works death by that which is good." So things that are not evil 
may often be hurtful to certain people. The Manichaeans, when they have sore eyes, will 
shut out their god the sun. The bride of Christ, then, is dead to the law, that is, to sin, which 
abounds more from the prohibition of the law; for the law apart from grace commands, but 
does not enable. Being dead to the law in this sense, that she may be married to another 
who rose from the dead, she makes this distinction without any reproach to the law, which 
would be blasphemy against its author. This is thy crime; for though the apostle tells thee 
that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good, thou dost not acknow- 
ledge it as the production of a good being. Its author thou makest to be one of the princes 
of darkness. Here the truth confronts thee. They are the words of the Apostle Paul: "The 
law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Such is the law given by Him 
who appointed for a great symbolical use the tablets which thou foolishly deridest. The 
same law which was given by Moses becomes through Jesus Christ grace and truth; for the 
spirit is joined to the letter, that the righteousness of the law might begin to be fulfilled, 
which when unfulfilled only added the guilt of transgression. The law which is holy, and 
just, and good, is the same law by which sin works death, and to which we must die, that 
we may be married to another who rose from the dead. Hear what the apostle adds: "But 
sin, that it might appear sin, wrought death in me by that which is good, that sin by the 
commandment might become exceeding sinful." Deaf and blind, dost thou not now hear 
and see? "Sin wrought death in me," he says, "by that which is good." The law is always 
good: whether it hurts those who are destitute of grace, or benefits those who are filled with 
grace, itself is always good; as the sun is always good, for every creature of God is good, 


562 Rom. vii. 7-13. 

563 1 Cor. viii. 1. 

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whether it hurts weak eyes or gladdens the sight of the healthy. Grace fits the mind for 
keeping the law, as health fits the eyes for seeing the sun. And as healthy eyes die not to the 
pleasure of seeing the sun, but to that painful effect of the rays which beat upon the eye so 
as to increase the darkness; so the mind, healed by the love of the spirit, dies not to the justice 
of the law, but to the guilt and transgression which followed on the law in the absence of 
grace. So it is said "The law is good, if used lawfully;" and immediately after of the same 
law, "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man." The man who delights 
in righteousness itself, does not require the restraint of the letter. 

9. The bride of Christ rejoices in the hope of full salvation, and desires for thee a happy 
conversion from fables to truth. She desires that the fear of Adoneus, as if he were a strange 
lover, may not prevent thy escape from the seductions of the wily serpent. Adonai is a 
Hebrew word, meaning Lord, as applied only to God. In the same way the Greek word 
latria means service, in the sense of the service of God; and Amen means true, in a special 
sacred sense. This is to be learned only from the Hebrew Scriptures, or from a translation. 
The Church of Christ understands and loves these names, without regarding the evils of 
those who scoff because they are ignorant. What she does not yet understand, she believes 
may be explained, as similar things have already been explained to her. If she is charged 
with loving Emmanuel, she laughs at the ignorance of the accuser, and holds fast by the 
truth of this name. If she is charged with loving Messiah, she scorns her powerless adversary, 
and clings to her anointed Master. Her prayer for thee is, that thou also mayest be cured 
of thy errors, and be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The monstrosity 
with which thou ignorantly chargest the true doctrine, is really to be found in the world 
which, according to thy fanciful stories, is made partly of thy god and partly of the world 
of darkness. This world, half savage and half divine, is worse than monstrous. The view of 
such follies should make thee humble and penitent, and should lead thee to shun the serpent, 
who seduces thee into such errors. If thou dost not believe what Moses says of the guile of 
the serpent, thou mayest be warned by Paul, who, when speaking of presenting the Church 
as a chaste virgin to Christ, says, "I fear lest, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his craftiness, 
your minds also should be corrupted from the simplicity and purity which is in Christ." 564 
In spite of this warning, thou hast been so misled, so infatuated by the serpent’s fatal en- 
chantments, that while he has persuaded other heretics to believe various falsehoods, he has 
persuaded thee to believe that he is Christ. Others, though fallen into the maze of manifold 
error, still admit the truth of the apostle’s warning. But thou art so far gone in corruption, 
and so lost to shame, that thou holdest as Christ the very being by whom the apostle declares 
that Eve was beguiled, and against whom he thus seeks to put the virgin bride of Christ on 
her guard. Thy heart is darkened by the deceiver, who intoxicates thee with dreams of glit- 


564 2 Cor. xi. 2, 3. 


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tering groves. What are these promises but dreams? What reason is there to believe them 
true? O drunken, but not with wine! 

10. Thou hast the impious audacity to accuse the God of the prophets of not fulfilling 
His promises even to His servants the Jews. Thou dost not mention, however, any promise 
that is unfulfilled; otherwise it might be shown, either that the promise has been fulfilled, 
and so that thou dost not understand it, or that it is yet to be fulfilled, and so that thou dost 
not believe it. What promise has been fulfilled to thee, to make it probable that thou wilt 
obtain new worlds gained from the region of darkness? If there are prophets who predict 
the Manichaeans with praise, and if it is said that the existence of the sect is a fulfillment of 
this prediction, it must first be proved that these predictions were not forged by Manichaeus 
in order to gain followers. He does not consider falsehood sinful. If he declares in praise 
of Christ that He showed false marks of wounds in His body, he can have no scruple about 
showing false predictions in his sheepskin volumes. Assuredly there are predictions of the 
Manich